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The Rising Tide of Women's National Coalition: The Experience of South Africa

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Abstract

South Africa is a nation of people with diverse political, racial and cultural backgrounds and is ranked among the top five countries on the African continent that have a fairly high women’s representation in national legislatures. As South Africa embarked on the reconstruction and development process of the new South Africa prior to its first democratic elections in 1994, among its major goals was to be a nonsexist and nonracist nation. Women wanted to be certain that the new South Africa also advanced gender equality. To work toward gender equality, a group of South African women activists formed the Women’s National Coalition (WNC). This paper investigates how women activists mobilized a women’s national movement that paved way to bridge the deep division that existed among women of different races through the formation of a coalition through volunteerism. It also investigates how the coalition of the WNC helped to redefine feminism in South Africa.

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