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It was not until the introduction of the Constitution of Human Rights that all women in this country were recognized formally as equal citizens. These Constitutional rights were created in 1996. In this Constitution, there was a special paragraph for women, titled ‘Equality’. In this it said that in the state you may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds. But before this Bill of Rights, the struggle of the women in South Africa started as early as 1913. When black and coloured women in the Free State protested against having to carry identify passes, which white women didn’t have to carry around. This shows us that Black and coloured women were also again treated lesser than the white women. In 1918 Charlotte Maxeke started the first formal women’s organization called the Bantu Women’s League. In the 1930s and 1940s there were many mass protests, demonstrations and resistance campaigns in which women participated. By 1943, women could join the ANC. In 1948 Ida Mtwana became the first female president of the African National Congress Women’s League. In 1952 many black, coloured and Indian women took part in the Deﬁance Campaign, which involved purposefully breaking apartheid laws. After that, throughout history and until the present day there have been many campaigns for their rights. Many campaigns were very successful. The women now have more rights than they have ever had before (Hassim, 2006).
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