Justice and Women’s model of individual empowerment usurps patriarchal norms and practices in rural KwaZulu-Natal | An observer’s perspective

(The data below is from internal project documents or interviews and focus group discussions conducted by the author during a project monitoring exercise on behalf of Global Affairs Canada).

Since its establishment in 2006, Justice and Women (JAW) has worked to contribute to gender equality and justice by empowering women and challenging patriarchal power relations in individual, institutional and social spaces, and practices.

JAW works in urban Pietermaritzburg where it facilitates women’s access to justice (i.e., obtaining protection orders), and in Mthonjaneni, a rural area that forms part of the Ingonyama Trust and is regulated by traditional authorities and the customary values and practices of the Zulu nation.

In July 2020, JAW received funding from Global Affairs Canada for its ‘Vulamehlo’ project to challenge the patriarchal customary values that give rise to gender oppressive practices and the acceptance of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). JAW argues that the “patriarchal attitudes and beliefs that underpin harmful customary practices are abusive at multiple levels (i.e., physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and spiritual) and are ingrained through socialization of children in which women carry much of the responsibility, making women and men perpetrators of unquestioned violence”.

Read the full article on the Development Aid website.