The Gender Identity Transition In South Africa

1016 words - 5 pages

Nonetheless, South Africa’s post-Apartheid legislature has allowed for great strides to be taken in terms of gender equality. The adoption of a constitution with gender equality has resulted in better opportunities for women to establish themselves in what is still considered to be a patriarchal society.
The South African organization, the Women’s National Coalition (WNC), had a significant influence between the transitional periods of 1990-1994 (Waylen, 2004: 12). The prime aim of the (WNC) was to dispel any negative gender stereotypes, which would marginalize individuals, women in particular. The (WNC) acknowledged the obvious indifferences between men and women within society and ...view middle of the document...

Many of these achievements could be attributed to the work of the (WNC).

The future for gender identities in South Africa, could effectively take two alternative paths. One being that the society remains stagnated as a patriarchal one or alternatively a society that shows an active transition in accepting different gender identities and sexualities via individuals for who they really are. The road to gender transition in the next ten to twenty years for South Africa could be a hard and complicated task, owing to the fact that societal norms would need to be altered greatly. Even though there is effective legislature protecting an individual’s right of non-discrimination based on their gender, the reality in most cases is that people tend to stick with norms and usually frown upon deviations within society. A prime example of this would be the 50 documented cases of violent hates crimes against black lesbians living in the townships, owing to their sexual preference these women were assaulted in order to rid them of their non-conforming behavior (Pithouse, 2011: 2). The President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, as well as the Minister of Arts and Culture Lulu Xingwana have also shared their views against homosexuality; these perceived role models views could play a significant role in the mindset of the country’s citizens (Pithouse, 2011: 2). Therefore, there could be an increase in homophobic attacks if active measures aren’t put in place, which will ultimately result in the continued stagnation of the current patriarchal society.

However, Individual choices will ultimately determine whether or not positive change will occur against the patriarchic system within the South African society. Better distinctive awareness, education and personal action against the patriarchal social characteristics of race, gender and class could also make a significant difference in the mindset of people. Patriarchy is influenced in how each person chooses to participate in social interactions. Therefore, with one of the most liberal legislatures in the world, South Africans have the ability to change the patriarchal outlook if they can start to acknowledge the limiting restrictions that exist within their society and...

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