African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League
The African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League is an organization within the ANC that focuses on women’s rights and gender equality in South Africa, which was founded in 1943 and has played a significant role in the struggle against apartheid and women’s empowerment.
The ANC Women’s League was established on April 17, 1943, in response to the growing need to involve women in the fight against apartheid and colonialism in South Africa. It sought to mobilize women, raise their political consciousness, and address issues that specifically affected them. Ida Mntwana, a prominent anti-apartheid activist, was the first president of the ANC Women’s League.
During the apartheid era, the Women’s League was involved in numerous protests and campaigns against the discriminatory policies of the South African government. One of the most significant events was the 1956 Women’s March on August 9, when more than 20,000 women of all races marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest the pass laws. This event is now commemorated annually as South Africa’s National Women’s Day.
The ANC Women’s League has been associated with many prominent female leaders, including Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu, and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. These women played crucial roles in the fight against apartheid and the advancement of women’s rights in South Africa.
Following the end of apartheid in 1994 and the election of Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s first black president, the ANC Women’s League continued its efforts to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment, and social justice. The organization has been instrumental in pushing for progressive legislation and policies, such as the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 and the Employment Equity Act of 1998.
In recent years, the ANC Women’s League has faced challenges and criticisms regarding its effectiveness and internal leadership struggles. However, it remains an influential organization within the ANC and continues to advocate for women’s rights and empowerment in South Africa.