It’s been a tough week for women.
Rhodes student Khensani Maseko killed herself after battling depression, apparently brought on by being raped. On Wednesday, another woman, as yet unnamed, reportedly jumped from the 20th floor of the Protea Hotel in Braamfontein, and Superman actress Margot Kidder’s death was ruled a suicide.
Then there was the slap in the face article by South African Institution of Civil Engineering CEO Manglin Pillay, who reworked the tired trope that women should stay in the kitchen by suggesting women don’t occupy top positions because “women choose to rather have the flexibility to dedicate themselves to more important enterprises, like family and raising children”.
Naturally, he’s keeping his job.
In June, Statistics South Africa noted that the 2016/17 Victims of Crime statistical release reported that 250 of every 100 000 women were victims of sexual offences, compared to 120 out of every 100 000 men.
“Using the 2016/17 SA Police Service statistics, in which 80% of reported sexual offences were rape, together with Statistics SA’s estimate that 68.5% of the sexual offence victims were women, we obtain a crude estimate of the number of women raped per 100 000 as 138.
“This figure is among the highest in the world,” Statistics SA’s 2018 report on Crime against Women in South Africa found.
“Attitudes and beliefs are the key factors that drive crime and, particularly, violence against women.
“Non-progressive attitudes and beliefs among the people of South Africa, including women, remain a major challenge in fighting crime against women.”
A study by Elizabeth Chinomona and Eugine Tafadzwa Maziriri from Vaal University of Technology found women were “stepping up to own and run businesses in numbers that would have been hard to imagine a mere few decades ago. However, women entrepreneurs face a wide variety of challenges, both in starting and in growing their business ventures”.
The most crucial was lack of access to finance.
The study found lack of education and training and gender bias also hampered women’s progress.
Happy Women’s Day, indeed.