Freedom for Women: Mainstreaming Gender in the South African Liberation Struggle and Beyond

Citation:

Meer, Shamim. 2005. “Freedom for Women: Mainstreaming Gender in the South African Liberation Struggle and Beyond.” Gender & Development 13 (2): 36–45.

Author: Shamim Meer

Abstract:

The liberation struggle in South Africa highlighted racial and class oppression as key causes of poverty, inequality, and a lack of rights for most South Africans. Drawing on the language of the struggle, women political and trade union activists brought attention to their oppression and exploitation as women, and were able to place non-sexism alongside non-racism and democracy as key liberation principles. However, while men in these organisations ostensibly accepted the idea of non-sexism, they were not ready to change their behaviour or give up their power, and women activists met with ongoing resistance. During the negotiations for democracy, women drew on their experience of the years of struggle and were able to ensure a high proportion of women in parliament, influence the country's constitution, and advocate the establishment of State machinery to mainstream gender equality. However, in the post-apartheid era of reconstruction and development, both the demobilisation of protest movements and the emphasis on the technical aspects of development stand in the way of gender mainstreaming via the State.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2005

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.