South Africa’s constitutional and legal framework reflects the country’s commitment to women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in line with international commitments. Nevertheless, women’s rights are still abused and overlooked.
Numerous policies detail the provision of services around sexual and gender-based violence, fertility, maternal, perinatal and newborn health, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), and cancers of the reproductive system.
However, these policies exist in a social climate of extreme inequality, with high rates of poverty and unemployment. Despite almost equal representation of women in government and other high-profile areas, women in South Africa experience unprecedented rates of sexual and gender-based violence, and women’s autonomy is all too often compromised by poverty, limited access to education, limited access to health care, and ongoing gender inequality that is bolstered by patriarchal norms.