When South Africa celebrated 20 years of democracy, the Heinrich Böll Foundation initiated a project that sought to bring a variety of actors from across sectors together to discuss to what extent womens rights and empowerment have been realized over these last two decades. From the conversations it was clear: while there had been vast advances,acts of violence against women in particular had not visibly decreased. This publication captures the conversations had; unpacks the many inter-related factors that continuously contribute to high levels of violence against women and hopes to contribute to more strategic and collaborative action against violence against women.
Challenging Patriarchy - Conversations on Violence Against Women
When South Africa celebrated the 20th birthday of its democracy, the Heinrich Böll Foundation initiated a project that sought to take stock of two decades of women’s rights activism after the end of apartheid. Under the title “Challenging Patriarchy”, a variety of actors across sectors were brought around the table over the course of the last two years. These engagements have echoed what feminists and activists have been saying for years: although the South African government has committed itself to gender equality, the reality many women face in society and institutions is a far cry from the vision enshrined in the country’s Constitution and progressive legal framework. Significant advances towards women’s rights and empowerment have been realized through specialized courts, quota systems, support services, and other programmes and instruments. And yet, acts of violence against women in particular have not visibly decreased. Capturing the 2015 “Challenging Patriarchy” dialogues, this publication seeks to unpack the many inter-related factors that continuously contribute to high levels of violence against women. Through enhanced understanding, it hopes to contribute to more strategic and collaborative action against violence against women.