South Africa ranks fourth among the 87 countries covered by the 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. It is the highest ranked country in Africa in this index. South Africa’s high ranking reflects the country’s strong legal framework in respect of gender equality and women’s rights. South Africa also performs well against the indicators specified for Goal 3 of the Millennium Development Goals, the goal that focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment. At 45% South African parliament is second in Africa after Rwanda in terms women representatives in Parliament.
Nevertheless, on the ground discriminatory practices, social norms and persistent stereotypes often shape inequitable access to opportunities, resources and power for women and girls. Further, serious gender related challenges persist, including unacceptable levels of gender-based violence.
This publication contains a wealth of data that we hope will be useful in taking forward the commitment of the government and the wider society to a non-sexist and non-racist South Africa.