Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela and Women's Rights

Given the passing of Nelson Mandela, a truly wonderful man who is best known for his fight against apartheid, I thought I would share some resources which given insight into his work for women's rights as well. Nelson Mandela helped create a country with a constitution that "provides legal protection from women from discrimination, rape and domestic violence (Chenelle)." As evidenced in his 1995 address on Women's Day, he also looked to women to lead in local government and push their communities to carry out vital government programs. In this particular speech, Mandela urged women to help put into effect the Reconstruction and Development Program, a wide-reaching program that attempted to tackle the many injustices--poverty, lack of clean water and housing, little access to healthcare, etc.--brought about by the Apartheid government. Previously, I had not known much about Mandela's advocacy on the part of women, but he was an advocate of freedom for all people, and acknowledged women's struggles during a time in which many other issues were vying for his attention as well. May his powerful legacy inspire us to fight the good fight.      

I will leave you with a quote from Nelson Mandela's State of the Nation Address in 1994:

"Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression."

This is his address on Women's Day:

note: "Masakhane" is a national slogan used by South Africans and political leaders meaning "Let us Build Together"

These are some of the ways he advocated for women in the South African Constitution:


1 comment:

  1. I had no idea about Nelson Mandela's work for women's rights, so thank you for sharing his speech and quote. It's great to see that there are some very important male leaders who understand the oppression that women face and their every day struggles, especially in times of war and revolution. I did know about the rights that the South African Constitution secures for women and I have watched a movie about the number of female South African judges appointed under the new government, many of them women of color. Here is a website that talks about it: and a clip from the movie: Their stories are moving and it really shows how much change happened in South Africa for women with the end of apartheid.