Are the powers of traditional leaders compatible with women's equal rights?: three conceptual arguments (yes, no and maybe)

OUTPUT TYPE: Conference or seminar papers
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2004
TITLE AUTHOR(S): K.A.Bentley
KEYWORDS: TRADITIONAL AUTHORITIES, WOMEN'S RIGHTS
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 3093

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Abstract

The paper considers the newly enacted legislation on traditional leaders, and reflects upon the potential conflict between the powers that it entrenches and the equal rights of rural women. The South African Constitution recognizes potentially incompatible rights of both gender equality and cultural recognition, and so the question of which if these should take precedence in the event of a conflict between them is one that challenges the egalitarian foundations of democracy. However this problem is not unique to South Africa, but rather is a facet of the global debate on multiculturalism and the "right" treatment of individual members of in egalitarian groups within democracies. The paper therefore offers three theoretical approaches to the problem, and considers whether a deliberative approach may offer a "middle road" solution to the problem that reduces the costs in terms of the rights of those concerned.