South AfricaWomen in South Africa are not treated in the way that they wish and need to be treated. This fact was stated throughout August, International Women’s Month when protests have been taking place in order to raise awareness of violence against women. There are several organizations facilitating female empowerment in South Africa to help South African women to be the best version of themselves. Despite the fact women are told to “know their place,” these organizations are fighting against this and ensuring female empowerment in South Africa by making their voice heard.

Women’s Empowerment Foundation for Southern Africa 

This is an information-based organization whose goal is to strengthen women’s voices, give means to women to speak out, empower women with information to change their lives and advocate for a gender-sensitive representation of women in the media. This organization also prioritizes empowering rural women in Zimbabwe with information in order to gain economic independence to meet their own basic needs. Through information about women empowerment, the question of how to give women their voices make them use them has been answered. The practice of eliminating challenges that women face, such as hunger and sanitary needs leads them to realize their economic and social rights and therefore causes them to eventually speak up about this injustice in their communities. Women’s Empowerment Foundation for Southern Africa work in a way that it firstly help women gain their voices, and then it facilitates their expression through communities and the government, as well as working to change society’s negative picture of women through the media.

Thuthuzela Care Centre

This network provides support for women across South Africa who have been victims of rape and sexual assault. It gives these women a support so that they do not experience tributary trauma while pursuing justice, counseling and medical treatment. By late 2014, 56 of these centers have been established. These centers provide emergency medical care, post-exposure prophylaxis, counseling, court preparation as well as many other services. Thuthuzela turns victims into survivors. USAID supports a public awareness campaign to inform the public of South Africa about these centers, the services that they provide and how to access them. Grants are also given to NGOs for after-hours care, HIV related care, as well as giving support to sexual offenses courts.

United Nations Development Programme

The purpose of this programme is to support the Government of South Africa in order to achieve gender equality and promote women’s empowerment in economic and social circles. This program currently has two areas in focus: women economic empowerment and closing the gap between policy and implementation. There is a study presently occurring that is striving to identify hindrances of women-owned enterprises from accessing loans and is determined to come up with recommendations for removing these barriers. The goal of this study is to expand women’s access to financial services and investing differently in women. The United Nations Development Programme has worked with numerous organizations in order to achieve the goal of women being able to be the main subject in their own lives.

Female empowerment in South Africa still has a long way to go, but these three organizations have pushed this effort past the starting gate, which will cause more and more people to get involved. The hope is that these organizations will slowly close the gender gap in South Africa and allow women to use their voices in positions of power, rather than succumb to the voices and the money of their husbands. This can happen with the help of the people who recognize that there needs to be something done in order to achieve women’s equality in South Africa.

Megan Maxwell
Photo: Flickr