Led by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, South African women celebrated Women's Day by commemorating Margaret Gazo, the late leader of an anti-apartheid protest against the pass laws in 1956.
Yesterday, along with Madikizela-Mandela, the African National Congress Women's League paid tribute to Gazo by establishing a monument in her honor. Madikizela-Mandela explained, "You go to any library, and the struggle of women has been ignored when the history of this country was written. We want to rewrite the history of women's roles."
Unfortunately, South African women have many obstacles to overcome. The rate of violence against women in the nation is astronomical. More than 64,000 women and girls are raped each year, with approximately 14,000 of them under the age of 18. South African women are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than are American women. Many of these young women are raped by HIV-infected men who believe that having sex with a virgin will cure their disease.
However, South Africa has made significant strides towards womenís equality. Gender equality is guaranteed under the post-apartheid constitution, affirmative action laws will be initiated soon, and about one-third of the seats in the Parliament and Cabinet are held by women.
In a speech entitled "Women United: Break the Silence," President Thabo Mbeki emphasized the need for a safer environment for women. He stated that equality among South Africans would not be achieved "unless women of out country live without fear in their houses and walk freely through all the streets and villages of our country."
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .