Swazi women are organizing to promote their rights and welfare, convinced that discriminatory laws are at odds with the essential roles they play in their families and in their country’s economy.
“We are taking a page from the past to achieve the recognition Swazi women deserve as the ones who keep this society going. It is a scandal how the authorities refuse to take women seriously when we are holding the country together,” said Cynthia Simelane, an activist who works with female garment workers at the Matsapha Industrial Site, outside the city of Manzini.
The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civil Organisations has noted that the Swazi government has signed various international accords pledging to end gender discrimination, but it has never enacted legislation to put those pledges into action.
In 2005, King Mswati III, a strict traditionalist with 13 wives, signed a new constitution granting men and women equal rights. However, discriminatory laws – such as one that prevents women from taking out bank loans – remain in place. Another such law, forbidding women from owning property, remains on the books despite having been ruled unconstitutional.
Read more of the story here at the IRIN news service:
SWAZILAND: Women find strength in numbers