SA women suffer most

We rejoice in Charlize Theron having been chosen UN messenger of peace with special focus on ending violence against women.

We rejoice in Charlize Theron having been chosen UN messenger of peace with special focus on ending violence against women.

A recent UN Population Fund report puts the life expectancy of South African women at 49,6 years - a decline of six years over the past 10 years.

This is on par with women living in war-torn and poverty-stricken countries such as Somalia and Ethiopia. Women in Namibia and Ghana live longer. In Iraq women live a decade longer.

This is largely due to South Africa having one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, with 21,8 percent of women aged between 15 and 49 years being HIV positive - the fourth highest rate globally.

South Africa also has among the world's highest levels of sexual and domestic violence and the HIV-Aids epidemic disproportionately affects women's lives.

According to Deputy Minister of Social Development Jean Swanson-Jacobs, there is a link between violence against women and HIV infection.

We have passed much progressive legislation that guarantees the protection of women's rights. Challenges with regard to implementation nevertheless remain.

According to a 2006 Sonke Gender Justice survey of 1000 men in Johannesburg, 50,1 percent of all men surveyed felt that they themselves should do more to end violence against women.

Janet Semple,Democratic Alliance MP

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