Gender Equality in South Africa

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Flag of South_Africa
Population (in Mil.) 52.34
Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB) 397.39
Sex Ratio (m/f) 0.99
Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m) 1.075471698
Fertility Rate 2.3
Estimated Earned Income (f/m)
Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m) ..
Women in Parliament (in %) 42.3
Human Development Index 121/187
Social Institutions and Gender Index 4/86
Gender Inequality Index 121/186
Gender Equity Index 12/168
Women’s Economic Opportunity Index 38/128
Global Gender Gap Index 17/68
More information on variables

In the news

Social Institutions

The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures gender-based discrimination in social norms, practices and laws across 160 countries. The SIGI comprises country profiles, a classification of countries and a database; it serves as a research, policy and advocacy tool for the development community and policy makers.

The SIGI covers five dimensions of discriminatory social institutions, spanning major socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. The SIGI’s variables quantify discriminatory social institutions such as unequal inheritance rights, early marriage, violence against women, and unequal land and property rights.

In the 2014 edition of the SIGI, South Africa has low levels of discrimination against women in social institutions. It has lower discrimination in discriminatory family code and higher discrimination in restricted access to resources and assets. Read the full country profile and access the data here:

The Africa for Women's Rights Campaign


Key facts

  • CEDAW: ratified in 1995
  • CEDAW Protocol: ratified in 2005
  • Maputo Protocol: ratified in 2004

The Campaign

On 8 March 2009 the "Africa for Women's Rights" Campaign was launched at the initiative of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in collaboration with fove non-governmental regional organisations: the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies(ACDHRS), Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF) and Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA). These organisations make up the Steering Committee responsible for the coordination of the Campaign.

The Campaign aims to put an end to discrimination and violence against women in Africa, calling on states to ratify international and regional instruments protecting women's rights, to repeal all discriminatory laws, to adopt laws protecting the rights of women and to take all necessary measures to wensure their effective implementation.

Country Focus: South Africa

Over the past decade South Africa has ratified the main international and regional women’s rights protection instruments; and national statutory laws tend to respect the principle of equality between women and men. Yet, the continued application of discriminatory customary laws and persistent patriarchal traditions lead to widespread violations of women’s human rights. The Coalition of the campaign remains particularly concerned about: discrimination within the family; violence against women, including trafficking; unequal access to property; discrimination in employment; and access to health services.

Read more


The Women, Business and the Law

Where are laws equal for men and women? 

The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.

For detailed information on South Africa, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law South Africa


The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database

FAO logo.jpg

The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database contains country level information on social, economic, political and cultural issues related to the gender inequalities embedded in those rights. Disparity on land access is one of the major causes for social and gender inequalities in rural areas, and it jeopardizes, as a consequence, rural food security as well as the wellbeing of individuals and families.

Six categories

The Database offers information on the 6 following Categories:

  • National legal frame
  • International treaties and conventions
  • Customary law 
  • Land tenure and related Institutions
  • Civil society organizations
  • Selected Land Related Statistics

For detailed information on South Africa, please visit the report on South Africa in the FAO Gender and Land Rights Database.


External Links

Article Information
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