South Africa

Many well-educated women in the cities live in relative equality, while women in other parts of the country are controlled by written and unwritten rules that restrict their freedom of movement.

South Africa is not one country. Many well-educated women in the cities live in relative equality, while women in other parts of the country are controlled by written and unwritten rules that restrict their freedom of movement.   

Population: 48.7 million (2008) 

Religions: Christianity approx. 80 %; Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and traditional African religions. 

Life expectancy: men 49 years, women 48 years (2011) 

Literacy rate: 82% (2002)

Income inequality: Gini coefficient 0.65 (2005) *

Ranking on the Transparency International list of Corruption Perceptions in 183 countries: 64 (2011) **

Ranking on the UNDP Human Development Index of 146 countries, taking gender equality into account: 94 (2011) ***

Maternal deaths: 236 deaths per l00,000 births

Number of children/woman: 2.3 (2011)

Abortion legislation: Right to abortion during the first three months of pregnancy depending entirely on the wishes of the woman. Thereafter up to the sixth month of pregnancy if there are special reasons, such as the health of the woman or an abnormality of the foetus. (2007)

Law against rape within marriage: Yes

Violence against women in close relationships: in 2010 almost 68,000 cases of sexual harassment were reported in a six-month period, most of them rape. It is claimed that almost 28 per cent of the male population have raped a woman or girl. 40 per cent of South African women stated in a report published by the WHO that their first sexual experience took place without their consent.

 

* Gini coefficient:
An economic metric of inequality in a population, for example in income distribution. The Gini coefficient has a value of between 0 and 1, where 0 implies that the assets of all individuals are exactly the same (total equality) while 1 represents total inequality. The lower the Gini coefficient for income inequality, the greater the equality of distribution of salaries, profits, welfare benefits and other forms of compensation.

** Corruption:
In 2011, Transparency International ranked 183 countries according to how widespread corruption was in the country.  Position 1 on the list showed the country where corruption was least widespread, position 183 the greatest. Corruption within, for example, the police and justice systems has a marked influence on women’s lives. 

*** Equality:
Every year, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, measures human development in the world’s countries taking into account health, education and income, in the Human Development Index, HDI. In 2010 a new index was introduced: GII, Gender Inequality Index, which also takes gender equality into account. The countries are ranked from position 1 downwards.

 

Sources:

Swedish Institute of International Affairs
Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ reports on human rights
Center for Reproductive Rights
CIA World Factbook
Gini Coefficient World CIA Report 2009
Transparency International
UNDP HDI2011
UNDP HDR2011
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation