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3 books you should read this Women’s Month

The bravery of thousands of women who marched against the tyranny of the apartheid regime was indeed inspiring.

The progress the country has made over the years as well has yielded plausible results, as a report of May 2019 states that for the first time in history, half of South Africa’s Cabinet ministers were women.

The Global Gender Gap Index in 2021 - which assesses women’s economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment - also ranked the country 18th out of 155 countries.

But while these may be important markers on the path toward gender equality enshrined in the Constitution (Republic of South Africa, 1996), activists say they hardly ensure systematic progress or tangible benefits for most women.

Their point is backed by the country’s high rates of gender-based violence (GBV), disproportionately high HIV prevalence among women, higher female unemployment, and a lack of representation of women in top management positions.

Despite the highs and lows in the fight for gender equality, we at Glamour HQ will continue to support and highlight the achievement of women from various sectors of our country.

It for this reason that we have selected three books by women writers that we believe every South African should read this month or at least this year.

Corridors of Death – The Struggle to Exist in Historically White Institutions by Malaika Wa Azania.

The book gives us an insiders account about the plight of black (women) students in historically white universities.

It explores and exposes the structural violence, racism and a culture of alienation that keeps on pushing black student over into depression and suicide.

The book further contends that urgent structural and institutional interventions need to be made, the centre of which must be transformation that reflects the demographic and socio-political construct of the South African society.

It also argues that unless and until this happens, Black students will increasingly reach an unendurable level of invisible agony, and die in universities.

It’s a slightly academic book, but it is easier to read so get your tissues ready as you turn the pages.

Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi

Okay, this book isn’t by a South African, but well, you should add it on your book list this month.

"Sweet Medicine", is set in Harare, and explores the journey undertaken by a young black Catholic girl in an effort to find romance and financial security through worldly means.

It further explores feminism, patriarchy, political freedom and poverty in the post-colonial era.

Female Fear Factory by Pumla Dineo Gqola

Female Fear Factory offers an even bolder vision for collective action against all cultures of sexual violence.

Like the previous book on which it builds, Female Fear Factory fuses intellectual rigour and extensive research.

The book is written by one of South Africa's keenest minds, the award-winning Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola.

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