South Africa : Make the Next Minister Of Women A Man

By Rebecca Davis


South Africa’s approach to its gender issues needs a radical shake-up. Here’s one idea: put a man at the helm of the Department of Women in the Presidency. The move could send some imperative messages about gender roles and the need for men to take responsibility for many of the issues currently making life hard for South African women.

The idea that a man should be Minister of Women sounds counter intuitive. Men are already over-represented in leadership roles; why give them one more? Specifically, why give a man a job which has the name “women” right there in the title? Aren’t feminists always complaining about men trying to speak on behalf of women?

These points are valid, and in normal contexts require serious consideration. But this is not a normal context. We live in a country where the war on women’s bodies shows no signs of ceasing. New ways of thinking about how to raise the status of women in our society are urgently needed, and this is one: give a man that job.

There is a deeply rooted perception that the issues affecting women are the business of women and the problem of women to solve. We see this…


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