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Gender and the Post- apartheid Era International Perspectives on Gender Lecture 5.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender and the Post- apartheid Era International Perspectives on Gender Lecture 5."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender and the Post- apartheid Era International Perspectives on Gender Lecture 5

2 Structure of Lecture Key Post-apartheid Election dates Factors in Over-throw of Apartheid Gender & Leadership in Struggle Getting Gender onto the Agenda Women in Parliament Rights-based Gender Equality, and Limits Loss of Grass-roots Leadership On-going Gender Inequalities Conclusions

3 March 1994 – First free elections, ANC swept to power (63% of vote). Nelson Mandela becomes President 1999 – Second free elections – ANC wins again (66% of vote). Mandela retires and Thabo Mbeki becomes President 2004 – Third free elections – ANC strengthens position (70% of vote) and Mbeki wins 2 nd term 2008 – Mbeki forced to resign and Kgalema Motlanthe becomes President Fourth free elections – ANC gets 66% of vote and Jacob Zuma becomes President Key Election Dates

4 Factors in Overthrow of Apartheid Ungovernability. Strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, violence, unrest International Sanctions biting Pressures from business and companies Lost war in Angola Elections in Namibia – trying it out? White regime talked peace with ANC while simultaneously supporting breakaway groups like the Inkatha Freedom Party (led by Buthelezi)

5 Queuing to vote in the first one person one vote general election, 27 April 1994 Election Day, 1994

6 Gender & Leadership Male leaders - Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Albert Luthuli, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe, Joe Slovo Black women leaders – Winnie Mandela, Lilian Ngoyi, Albertina Sisulu, Dorothy Mwembe - and white women - Helen Joseph, Ruth First Women unable to be full ANC members until 1943 Established women’s sections Feminism seen as bourgeois, western

7 Lilian Ngoyi Winnie Mandela Albertina Sisulu Helen Joseph Ruth First Dorothy Mwembe yrs in prison

8 Gender Division of Labour in Struggle Men as leaders and soldiers Women as voters, providers, couriers, playing support roles Patriarchal sexual relations Women mobilising around their reproductive roles Black Sash - a white women's passive resistance movement African women taking place of exiled men In 1980 women were 20% of MK cadres

9 Getting Gender onto the Agenda Concerted effort to ensure that gender was on the agenda, not side-lined Concern to avoid experiences of women in Zimbabwe and Mozambique Malibongwe Conference in 1990 legitimised gender as an autonomous political aspect of national liberation ANC honoured its commitment to reserve 30% of elected positions for women Women’s National Coalition ensured gender equality & affirmative action in Constitution

10 Women in Parliament 1994 – 111 women MPs elected, nearly all ANC Put South Africa 8 th in world in terms of gender equality in government (was 141 st ) March 2002: 50/50 campaign launched Women 42% of Parliamentarians in 2012 Parliament 2009

11 Challenges for Women MPs Parliamentary structures built around men’s needs Lack of professional skills Unfamiliarity with procedures Stereotyping Trade union entrants cut off from grass-roots support Former exiles had to build constituency SAs former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, now President of UN Women

12 Rights-based Gender Equality Mandela: ‘It is vitally important that all the structures of Government, including the President should understand fully that freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression’ (Opening Parliament, 24 May 1994) Legal equality and formal rights for women have been privileged in the Constitution, in Chapter Nine institutions like Commission for Gender Equality, in progressive gender-sensitive legislation Labour rights, Child Support, Sexual and Reproductive rights, Education rights all addressed

13 Limits of Rights-based Equality Gap between rights and realities (Hames) Hegemony of neo-liberal capitalism = little economic redistribution and privatization = social and economic inequalities entrenched Inequalities in income, education, location etc. mean privileged gain most from new right Barriers to seeking rights:  Lack of knowledge or relevance (eg labour laws)  Lack of time, energy and money  Patriarchal cultural and religious values  Legal language, court procedures, delay, distance Feminist ideas co-opted by state as yesterday’s revolutionaries become today’s state functionaries

14 Loss of Grassroots Leadership Vacuum of women leaders created ‘Women’s ‘now close to equal participation in government has come at a price of weakening the mass-based women’s movement that was the driving force behind the South African women’s move into parliament’ (Geisler, 2000, p. 627) Vibrant organizations of workers, students, women and youth disbanded or compromised by alliance with ANC in government Women MPs accountable to the party first

15 Gender Based Violence Estimated a woman is raped every 30 seconds 28% of men in recent study reported having perpetrated rape Domestic violence common – in survey over 40% of men reported being physically violent to partner Half of all women homicides result from domestic violence Young black men are most likely to die violently – rate of violent death for men 8 times world average Children prone to physical violence and over 33% of girls report having experienced sexual violence before aged 18 Source: 2009 report, ‘Preventing Rape and Violence in South Africa’:

16 The Link to Masculinities Many men assume if women gain they lose (zero sum model of power) Norm of male breadwinner threatened by women’s labour rights and welfare rights Norm of male infidelity threatened by women’s economic autonomy Many men equate women asserting their rights with lack of respect Threat to identity leads men to domestic violence Women’s political equality in public sphere more acceptable to men than women’s equality in private sphere of family/household Some men are embracing gender equality

17 Gender and HIV/AIDS 5.6 million South Africans living with HIV/AIDS in 2009; died of HIV/AIDS that year Nearly a third of women aged infected, over a quarter of men aged Women have higher risk of infection, get less information and can’t generally insist on condom use Burden of caring for people living with AIDS falls to women

18 Gendered Poverty Poverty and unemployment have worsened since % of African people are poor compared with less than 5% of white people Black men more likely to be unemployed and in lower paid work than white men Rural women remain the poorest and least educated group Gender pay gap is 33.5% (2009 report) Black women concentrated in informal sector employment, clothing/textiles, plantation work Income inequalities between women growing Female representation in top management grew from 13% to 17.8% between 2001 and 2008 For statistics on poverty see South African Regional Poverty Network:

19 Cape Town councillor June Frans surveys an open-air toilet in Khayelitsha, Cape Town suburb Progress?

20 Power Corrupts?: Marikana August miners shot dead by police during pay strike Lot of mine workers symbol of failure to address inequalities ‘It’s hard to overestimate the impact that scenes once so associated with apartheid will have now they are replayed under a black, democratic government’ (Guardian, 20 Aug, 2012) Ongoing enquiry: police fired unprovoked? ANC lacks effective opposition

21 Conclusions Apartheid officially ended in 1994 as ANC swept to power Mass organization of South Africans was key factor in National Party conceding power, also intl sanctions Women played key, often subordinate, roles in struggle Coalition of women ensured gender was not side-lined Parliament was transformed by women, but entering such a male bastion was not without challenge Formal, rights based gender equality is second to none Huge gaps remain between rights and realities Grassroots leadership was lost as so many women entered government Many black men feel threatened by women’s new rights Inequalities persist, ANC lacks effective opposition Next Week: Gender and State Socialism: The USSR


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