Gender Equality

The Situation: South Africa is characterized by strong legislative and policy enabling environment that is aligned with international conventions and that seeks to protect and empower women. Furthermore, a comprehensive set of government programmes and dynamic civil society organisations are providing essential services. Despite these conducive factors, discriminatory practices, social norms and persistent stereotypes continue to shape inequitable access to opportunities, resources and power for women and girls.

The Situation: South Africa is characterized by strong legislative and policy enabling environment that is aligned with international conventions and that seeks to protect and empower women. Furthermore, a comprehensive set of government programmes and dynamic civil society organisations are providing essential services. Despite these conducive factors, discriminatory practices, social norms and persistent stereotypes continue to shape inequitable access to opportunities, resources and power for women and girls. Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a problem of pandemic proportions and gender disparities have continued to persist in South Africa.

GBV in South Africa is a profound and pervasive public health problem that has been clearly recognized by the Government of South Africa. Intimate Partner Violence prevalence rates across population-based studies range between one in five and one in three women reporting having experienced physical intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Between 40% to 50% of men disclose having ever perpetrated physical partner violence. Nearly 1 in 5 women reported ever having experienced sexual intimate partner violence. The Medical Research Council (MRC) reported that Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention efforts are very critical in reversing HIV prevalence, as an estimated 16% of HIV in women could be preventable if there was no intimate partner violence. Addressing gender based violence is therefore a critical for poverty reduction, socio-economic development. 

UNFPA Response

UNFPA South Africa supports government departments, research institutions and civil society partners to effectively prevent GBV through a human rights-based approach to gender equity and development. We capacitate Community Based Organizations to prevent and respond to GBV through community based interventions. These include conducting community dialogues and development of local action plans on GBV prevention, capacity building of community champions and advocacy with district and local municipalities to incorporate GBV and sexual and reproductive issues into the local development plans. Furthermore, we engage with Traditional Leaders and faith-based organizations to prevent violence against women and children and work against other harmful cultural practices.