After 26 years into democracy, women in South Africa continue to be the victims of gender discrimination, where women are viewed as inferior and the most vulnerable gender. Gender discrimination is a barrier that makes it harder for women to acquire equal treatment to men. It is a situation in which women are treated differently because they are female, rather than based on their skills or capabilities. This societal and cultural norm must be dismantled.
South Africa’s mid-year population is estimated to have increased to 59,62 million in 2020, according to a report released by Statistics South Africa. The report shows that approximately 51,1% (approximately 30,5 million) of the population is female. Despite women making up just over half of the population, they remain poorly represented in positions of senior-level and power. Women from all walks of life go through gender discrimination be it at home, in the workplace, in school and in communities.
Women in the rural areas are expected to do all house chores because it is called “women’s work”. There are homes where men proudly say they will never never do house chores particularly in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal rural areas due to traditional gender roles.
Women are under-represented in school leadership positions. This is despite having the same qualifications as men. A report by Africa Check reveals that female teachers make up about 68% of the country’s teaching force, but only 36% of principals are women. Therefore, South African schools have more male principals than women.
Gender discrimination creates more obstacles for women. Many women are unemployed because of gender discrimination and some even struggle to obtain leadership roles. Therefore, to end gender discrimination the first thing we should do as women is to report it to the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). The CGE was established in terms of Section 187 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.The CGE has the power to investigate gender complaints. It receives between 70 and 100 complaints per month and they also conduct public awareness campaigns to inform the public about gender issues.
There are a number of ways that people can lodge a complaint with the Commission for Gender Equality: you can email them, use an online form or even submit a hard copy form. The Commission will send a complainant letter to acknowledge that they have received the complaint. After the CGE receives a complaint, an investigation or legal Officer will look into the complaint. The officer will contact the complainant to discuss how the matter will proceed.
South Africans from all walks of life should challenge gender discrimination and encourage women to be leaders. One of the best solutions to end gender discrimination is to promote gender equality by treating women and men the same way. This can happen by creating a culture that is inclusive to everyone, especially women. Public and private institutions should be challenged in this way by creating an inclusive culture whilst also creating more opportunities for women to hold leadership positions and enforce equal pay amongst genders.