Promoting Gender Inclusion in South Africa

22nd December 2020.

In South Africa, the African National Congress’ (ANC) Women’s League (ANCWL) was involved in key leadership positions early in the country’s and the party’s transformation in the 1990s. This early rise of women in key positions helped ensure that ANC women activists had a seat at the table, which they used to institutionalize a gender equality framework through important party documents. Strong advocacy efforts — including utilizing international pressure — on the part of women party activists led to the ANC putting in place several voluntary mechanisms and policies (e.g., an increase in the quota system from 30% to 50% in 2004) to ensure women’s representation in South African politics. The ANCWL is influential not just based on their numbers in parliament. They hold office at virtually every level of government and have held positions such as deputy president, ministers, speaker of parliament and chief whip in the parliament. Women are also represented in growing numbers in municipal structures and councils. 

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