Experiences of women professionals speaking out against gender marginalization at magistrate offices in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Women working at Magistrate offices in South Africa are experiencing many challenges that affect their lives psychologically, emotionally and physically. Some of them experience physical abuse and gender based violence. At the core of their abuse is the system of patriarchy that refuses to wither. Their male counterparts still believe that they are superior in many respects. Emotional or physical abuse is experienced highly by women working in this department, with 90% of the sample having experienced this abuse. Many women are still unaware of their rights when there is gender discrimination. There is also an increase in the number of women being discriminated by their male colleagues and supervisors. The basis for this study was to explore the experiences and challenges that women face in the magistrate offices in the Limpopo Province and as such, create an environment that is conducive for growth and the wellbeing of all workers in this sector. The study also investigates whether there are changes to women’s well-being especially after the 1994 drafting of the terms of Gender Equality Act. The study embarked on a qualitative research approach where ten women were interviewed based on their experiences working in Magistrate offices. The findings of the study are as follows: The data analysed point to the fact that discrimination against women still permeates all walks of life. It also shows that even qualified women are discriminated against inspite of the fact that they are more knowledgeable and full of experience and skills. Gender discrimination also manifests itself through other forms such as discrimination according to disability, race and ethnicity.
Keywords: Gender Mainstreaming, Gender equality, Patriarchy, Democracy