Women's human rights & the feminisation of poverty in South Africa
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This article assesses the range of measures in place in South Africa to protect the human rights of women and establish their equality. The Constitution, the National Action Plan, ratified international law and domestic law all aim, or claim, to prioritise the 'right' treatment of women in South Africa. On paper then, there is a human rights 'culture' which is particularly nuanced to take
account of gender difference and women's particular vulnerability to the effects of poverty, HIV/AIDS and violence. In practice however, women comprise the majority of the most marginalised, impoverished and least empowered sector of South African society. The paper assesses this marginalisation in the context of an enduring patriarchal culture. The retention of this 'under-blanket' of patriarchal power underlies the virtual exclusion of women from the mainstream of South African economic life.