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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: News 24 by Amanda Gouws.]

Twenty five years ago, on the eve of democratic transition, South African women were optimistic. They were confident of being included in democratic processes that would ensure greater representation for women and more spaces in the state to promote gender equality.

Before the first democratic elections in 1994 the Women’s National Coalition – a groundswell women’s movement that mobilised across race and party lines – consulted over 1 million women at grassroots level all over the country, to produce a Charter of Women’s Rights (a Bill of Rights for women). By the time the election rolled around the African National Congress’s (ANC) Women’s League had negotiated a 30% party quota for women in Parliament. This was no small feat.

More was to follow. The coalition – together with feminist activists and feminist academics – designed the architecture of structures in the state which they called the National Gender Machinery. It consisted of the Office of the Status of Women, the Women’s Empowerment Unit, the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Quality of Life and the Status of Women, a multi-party gender caucus, gender desks in all state departments, and Commission for Gender Equality.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.5% y/y in June 2019 (CPI) & +5.8 y/y in June 2019 (PPI)
-3.2% q/q (1st quarter of 2019)
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