Reproductive Justice: The missing issue in party manifestos for 2019 Election
Women outnumber men in South Africa, yet most political parties only pay lip service to issues of reproductive health and justice in their election manifestos. Control over their own bodies and health is the first step towards gender equality and development for South African women and girls.
By Louise Carmody and Marion Stevens
5 May 2019
In every election period, political parties commit to improving service delivery, the economy, and tackling the enormous wealth, race and gender inequalities within South Africa. At 51% of the population, and 55% of the electorate, women outnumber men, yet politicians rarely address policies towards increasing their access to sexual and reproductive health services, especially in poor communities.
This gap highlights the lack of reproductive justice in South Africa, which requires the right to bodily autonomy, the right to decide whether or not to have a child, and the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments. Having the ability to exercise and control reproductive decisions and to access necessary sexual and reproductive healthcare is critical for women and girls to achieve gender equality and development.