Do South African women have ‘paper’ rather than ‘substantive’ rights?
Summary of story from allAfrica.com, June 1, 2011
Senior government officials and delegates for women’s affairs from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) agencies are meeting in Windhoek to consider progress made during 2010/2011 in terms of gender equality.
A 10 year review done on gender equality in 2005 showed a disparaging representation of ‘paper rights’ compared to ‘substantive rights’ for women.
This, the review found, held implications for economic growth, development and poverty eradication in the region.
Women and girls are still considered to be more vulnerable to HIV infections than their male counterparts, while laws, services and resources to address gender-based violence are still “patchy”.
The meeting will also consider informal cross-border trading, which is said to provide a safety net for the unemployed in the region.
Women form the majority of labourers in the agricultural sector for both cash crop and food production, yet still lack access to and ownership of land, where most land laws do not explicitly state women’s right to land.
SADC further views the promotion of female entrepreneurs as a central economic concern.