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The XXI century will be a сentury either of total all-embracing crisis or of moral and spiritual healing that will reinvigorate humankind. It is my conviction that all of us - all reasonable political leaders, all spiritual and ideological movements, all  faiths - must help in this transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance.

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6 August 2018

Naydene de Lange, Prof., Nelson Mandela University, S.Africa. "Girls as 'warriors': Addressing gender inequality in turbulent times in South Africa"

Report presented at the International Conference “Girlhood in Turbulent Times: Gender Equality as a Cultural Norm and a Social Practice”, 7 April 2017

South Africa, in its 23rd year of its democracy, is indeed experiencing turbulent times, still grappling with “establishing a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights” (The South African Constitution, 1996: 1), and enabling equality for women. Connell (2005: 1801) drawing on her earlier work (2002) acknowledges that “[g]ender inequalities are embedded in a multidimensional structure of relationships between men and women, which, as the modern sociology of gender shows, operates at every level of human experience, from economic arrangements, to culture, the state, to interpersonal relationships and individual emotions.” Draper (2017) in an overview of the recent World Economic Forum posits that “[t]hese times would test any government and country, but [that] South Africa faces its own domestic challenges [contested political power] that in the best case will inhibit its responsiveness, and in the worst case exacerbate the domestic political impact of these global currents [for example negative growth]”. It is within this space of contested political power that addressing the inequalities of women are pushed back and that the experiences of most women remain an unacceptable reality filled with inequalities, oppressions, and violence. While there are efforts in South Africa to acknowledge women as equal partners in sustainable socio-economic development, most girls and young women remain in a place of deep inequality. When the economy suffers, people suffer, and when people suffer, the face of suffering seems to be that of children (girls) and women. The intersectionality of being a girl/woman, being African, being poor, and in or from a rural context deepens the experiences of inequality.
When will the inequalities that women experience change? Mosua (2017) points out that women’s rights and issues were shelved during colonisation and post-colonisation:
During colonization and post-colonial eras, African women of various backgrounds, have been left with no time to speak for themselves.  … Women joined hands with their men to fight colonization and during the process the fight for gender-empowerment was suspended as they were urged to shelve their concerns and join the men in the fight for their conquered land.  (Mosua 2017: 69-70).
It seems that women’s concerns are still not taken seriously.

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