AZAPO believes that the oppression of women and the Women’s Liberation struggle is a human issue that should not be confined to the exclusive efforts of women. Historically, the oppression and gender discrimination of black women have been located in the dispossession of the indigenous people, which resulted in the economic exploitation and race oppression of black people. Today there is still a lot that needs to be done to remove the structural impediments and restore the dignity of women and accelerate their liberation. Women have multiple roles and can at any one time be mothers, leaders, students, decision-makers, workers and much more. 20 years into ‘democracy’ women, particularly black women, still have a scanty presence in positions of leadership both in the public and private sectors. South Africa’s Census 2011 has revealed that black women have the highest rate of unemployment and the lowest employment opportunities. Official unemployment for black women stands at 41.2%. However, the expanded definition of unemployment puts the rate for black women at almost 53%.
Women play a pivotal role in ensuring food security for their families. With increasing effects of climatic changes, women must be supported in their efforts to feed their families. Without title to land, women are often denied access to technologies and resources – such as water resources, irrigation services, credit, extension, and seed. The United Nations has determined a direct correlation between education and human rights. In fact, educated girls tend to become women with greater economic independence, with an increased ability to negotiate and bargain in home, community and economic life. Educated girls and women tend to participate more in public life, and can manage natural resources in a more sustainable manner and experience greater ease in finding formal sector employment, and earn higher incomes. Research has found that a one-year increase in schooling of all adult females in a country is associated with an increase in gross domestic product per capita of around US$700. In addition, a country failing to meet gender education targets is expected to suffer a deficit in per capita income of 0.1 to 0.3 percentage points.
Gender based violence in the form of rape and domestic abuseis on the rise. In all areas of economic pursuits , it is common knowledge that sex is demanded from women in return for a tender, promotion or some deal. The suffering is worse for rural and uneducated women. The concepts of women empowerment and quotas are not always helpful where the structure and fibre of the South African society is fundamentally patriarchal and sexist.
An AZAPO government will:
- establish a stand-alone Ministry to be in charge of women’s affairs and the targeted implementation of a radical transformation programme, and report progress in Parliament
- Introduce legal reforms and policy reformation in favour of women to ensure equitable property and resource ownership rights for women with the objective of securing greater food security and reduced poverty
- Enact laws and introduce programmes that remove the patriarchal structural impediments that halt the free development of women
- Actively champion and support programmes that are geared at the eradication of patriarchal attitudes, prejudices and practices
- Place onus for bail on the rape accused; impose a heavy prison sentence and offer no parole to convicted rapists.
- Set up a gender equity panel with a mandate to investigate and enforce gender parity progress in the public, private and other relevant institutions
- Ensure that women’s health issues receive attention in research, in the provision of health services and in building public awareness
- Ensure that value of the equality of sexes, the principle of anti-sexism and the Women’s Liberation programme are interwoven into the school curriculum
- Provide sanitary material for girls at school
- Incorporate in the school curriculum a life skills programme to alert teenagers about development setbacks caused by sex at an early age and the resultant unplanned pregnancies that tend to aggravate poverty in many cases