Eradicating Feminized Societal Issues through Legal Adjudication in Transformative Constitutionalist South Africa

For centuries women all over the world were openly prohibited to participate in civic life.  South Africa, like many other countries, has historically grappled with the unequal treatment of women. In South Africa, today, women and men are not socio-economic equals.   However, the South African Constitution, the highest law of the land, promulgated in 1996, encapsulates a Bill of Rights which – among other things – affords all individuals the fundamental human right to equal treatment as well as the right to healthcare, in terms of section 9 and 27 of the country’s Constitution. The Constitutional doctrine of gender equality in South Africa rests at a crossroad in which the law, the adjudicative process, economic functioning and health wellbeing intersect. In 2008, Amnesty International revealed that the HIV and AIDS epidemic in South Africa is clearly feminized, where it was found that over five and a half million people living with HIV in the country were women. The author of the paper argues, in the article, that remedying feminized defects in society, particularly in the South African context, is to be necessitated by way of the mode of adjudication in the South African courts in matters relating to these feminized societal issues which include the identification and removal of cultural barriers which preclude the advancement of women in areas of family life, socio-economic positioning and female healthcare.


Mary-Jean Nleya . Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University .

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