Coming of age? Women's sexual and reproductive health after twenty-one years of democracy in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 5
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    This paper is a sequel to a 2004 article thet reviewed South Africa's introduction of new sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights, laws, policies and programmes, a decade into democracy. Similarly to the previous article this paper focuses on key areas of women's SRH: contraception and fertility abortion maternal health HIV cervical and breast cancer and sexual violence. In the last decade South Africa has retained and expanded its sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) policies in the areas of abortion contraception youth and HIV treatment (with the largest antiretroviral treatment programme in the world). These are positive examples within the SRHR policy arena. These improvements include fewer unsafe abortions AIDS deaths and vertical HIV transmission as well as the public provision of a human papillomavirus vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. However persistent socio-economic inequities and gender inequality continue to profoundly affect South African women's SRHR. The state shows mixed success over the past two decades in advancing measurable SRH social justice outcomes and in confronting and ameliorating social norms that undermine SRHR.