Men are treated like kings while women still slave away in the world, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said.
Dlamini-Zuma, pictured, said in rural areas wives are almost treated like slaves, taught to obey husbands no matter what, and women are perpetuating the stereotype.
"Women treat girls like slaves and boys like little princes. They allow their sons to treat their wives as inferior beings and sometimes it is women who tell a bride how to behave and persevere even if life is unbearable," Dlamini-Zuma told the 9th congress of the Pan African Women's Organisation (Pawo).
She said Pawo could change the situation.
"As Pawo was very active in the struggle for liberation, it has to be central in the emancipation of all women on our continent," she said.
ANC Women's League president Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula urged delegates to show solidarity with women from countries in conflict. "We should speak out against violence based on intolerance and prejudice because violence is a great inhibitor of development, including women's development."
She said there were still many challenges.
"Many women still die from curable diseases, are forced to flee their homes because of poverty and wars of greed, are victims of international crime syndicates involved in human trafficking and suffer from repression and abuse in the name of tradition and oligarchy of religion," she said.