Mbuyiselo Botha

CityPress - - Voices -

Pa­tri­ar­chal at­ti­tudes cre­ate a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment for fe­male lawyers who find it dif­fi­cult to work with col­leagues who make crude jokes, and pa­tro­n­ise and ob­jec­tify women. In ad­di­tion to hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ments, women ad­vo­cates are sub­jected to covert pa­tri­ar­chal prac­tices such as be­ing briefed only on mat­ters re­lat­ing to di­vorces and main­te­nance claims. The old boys’ net­work at the Bar also in­flu­ences who is briefed and, if one does not play golf or did not at­tend the cor­rect law school, one may find him­self or her­self per­form­ing mun­dane work. Th­ese an­dro­cen­tric trends are de­plorable and also ironic be­cause they per­pet­u­ate the in­equal­ity and in­jus­tice which are the very prob­lems the ju­di­ciary is sup­posed to ad­dress.

Why is it nec­es­sary for gen­der equal­ity to be af­firmed in the ju­di­ciary?

An equal so­ci­ety is re­flected in the prac­tice of equal­ity. There­fore, if South Africa has em­braced equal­ity, it would be log­i­cal to ex­pect a key in­sti­tu­tion such as the ju­di­ciary to com­prise an equal num­ber of women and men. This would send a philo­soph­i­cal mes­sage that gen­der equal­ity not only ex­isted in the­ory, but was a liv­ing re­al­ity.

A sin­cere com­mit­ment to the gen­der agenda is not ne­go­tiable and should not be taken lightly when viewed against the his­tor­i­cal fight for lib­er­a­tion and equal­ity by South African women strug­gle hero­ines.

It is not sur­pris­ing that in a pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety such as ours, there is a ten­dency to dis­count the sac­ri­fices and valu­able con­tri­bu­tions made by women strug­gle hero­ines.

There were many other women who sac­ri­ficed their

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