Progression of South African women in the workplace: a study of the right to development and relevant legal framework that underpins the eradication of gender disparity in the workplace.
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High levels of gender inequality in South African workplaces are a primary contributing factor towards women’s lack of career progression. The fundamental purpose of this study was to identify the reasons why women continue to be one of the most vulnerable and marginalised group in the workplace, despite there being international, regional and domestic laws as well as policies and measures to assist the development of women. This dissertation explores particular international and regional instruments pertaining to the right to development and women rights in order to determine their significance in advancing the position of women in the workplace. It was found that due to the lack of effective enforcement mechanisms minimal adjustments are being made to national laws. An in-depth analysis of South Africa’s current legal framework promoting gender equality, non-discrimination and fair labour practices revealed while the country’s constitutional and labour law framework provide numerous avenues to advance women’s progression in the workplace, employers’ failure to comply with such provisions or half-hearted efforts to implement them, disables women’s right to development. Finally, South Africa’s current programme of action aimed at giving practical effect to the country’s gender transformation agenda was highlighted. In prioritising gender parity, the government through various policies seeks to reshape society and the country’s workforce by recognising the challenges impeding women’s development. An analysis of the South African judiciary and mining sector revealed that the gap between laws and policies and the situation on the ground in workplaces across the country, women’s right to development appear to be stifled. Therefore, this dissertation has provided recommendations directly aimed at addressing the barriers which impede women’s right to development and ultimately prevent their progression in the workplace. The goal is to ensure the success of both genders coexisting in the workplace, without the presence of dominance or discrimination.