Free lunchtime Talk: Feminism

You are invited to a free Lunchtime Soapbox talk entitled:

Feminism and South Africa in 2011: Are we there yet? NO! Why not?

by Jennifer Thorpe

Look at us go, we’ve got it all. We make up more than half of the population. We can go to school, get a job and vote. We have democracy. In fact we have the constitutional rights to equality, human dignity, life, freedom and security of the person, privacy, freedom of religion, belief and opinion, freedom of expression, the right to assemble and demonstrate, picket and march, freedom of association, we have political rights coming out of our ears. On paper, South Africa is pretty much the best place for a woman to live in the world.

Yet, it’s a man’s world out there. Our key political leaders are men, and the people who decide how the government spends its money are men. The streets are dangerous for women and there is very little space for them at the top in business. We’re the rape capital of the world and most of the survivors are women and girls. Women are still subject to dangerous traditional laws that sell them into marriage and stop them from owning land. Women bear the brunt of HIV infection, of the care economy and of stigma. Women’s voices are largely absent from mainstream media.

Why is this the world we live in? How have we reached 2011 without a powerful feminist movement in South Africa demanding a change? What do we do now?

Jen Thorpe is a feminist writer and researcher. She currently works at the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust as the Research and Advocacy Coordinator. She is the editor of, the curator of the My First Time Women’s Writing Project and a Mail and Guardian Thoughtleader blogger. She has an MA in Politics from Rhodes, where her thesis focused on scripts of femininity. She loves yoga, swimming, chocolate and her long time boyfriend Mike. Her ideal world would be one in which women’s speech was celebrated, their silence respected, their sexuality their own and their rights respected. She believes we’ll get there, but only if we work together.

A delicious and affordable (from R35) brown bag lunch will be on sale at the venue.

Date: Thursday 17 March 2011

Time: 12:45 for 13:00pm

Venue: Lobby Books, Cape Town Democracy Center, 6 Spin Street

Contact: Andreas Spath at or 021 467 7606

Parking options:
Street parking in the area is safe.
Parking garages open to the public in the area include:

  • Plein Park (Plein Street; to get to the entrance, turn off Plein Street into Barrack Street and then into Corporation Street).
  • Mandela Rhodes Place (entrance in Burg Street, off Wale Street).

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