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Increases in the parliamentary representation of women in South Africa indicate a significant closing of the gender gap Is this a well-founded accurate statement In my opinion this it is not so but to substantiate this one must first define what is meant by the gender gap The gender gap can be defined as the inequality which exists between men and women when it comes to social and in this case political roles This gap has been present throughout history with attempts being made only recently to narrow it Women have up until now and in many cases still have limited access to employment education health care and in the most extreme cases life Some statistics to back this up are as follows In 1995 women accounted for only 38 of the labour force with approximately 45 of children enrolled in primary or secondary education being female In some places it is not unheard of for a baby to be aborted simply because it is female All these examples and many more exemplify the fact that a gender gap does exist The example which has been brought forward that of women in politics signals an effort to bridge this divide but does not accomplish this in any way that warrants being called significant At the present moment South Africa displays some of the highest percentages of women in government although they are still far from equal Pre 1994 only 27 of our MPs were female Today 27 of the national assembly seats are held by women 24 of provincial legislature members are female and 31 of Ministers and Deputy Ministers are female The fact does remain that the current government is a patriarchal system in which womens opinions are not valued as highly as those of their male counterparts Male members of parliament are taken more seriously than women says Ruth Rabinowitz of the IFP Women have also
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