Gender discrimination in the SANDF : women as combat soldiers in the South African Army with reference to the Western Province Command

Veldtman, Sazi Livingston. (2001-12)

Thesis (MPA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: As early as the unification of South Africa in 1910 enforced discrimination in the military has been an issue that affected both race and gender. The advent of democracy in South Africa has brought fundamental changes in spheres of governance. One of these changes is the transformation of the public service of which the Department of Defence, in particular the South African National Defence Force, is part. The constitutional and judicial imperatives stipulated to the government departments to be representative of the demographic composition of the population of South Africa. The Department of Defence has provided a policy on equal opportunity and affirmative action to redress the racial and gender imbalances of the past, to protect individual and groups against unfair discrimination andto work towards achievement of employment equity. The study seeks to establish the extent and influence of gender discrimination in the South African National Defence with particular reference to the SA Army's Western Province Command. To achieve this, the attitude of the middle and top management of the WP Command towards the utilisation or employment of women in combat roles were assessed. The study also investigated whether the mentioned management does encourage women to be involved or participate in combat roles. Data was collected from respondents by means of a structured questionnaire consisting of 58 questions (plus 8 unstructured questions). The sample was drawn from the SA Army's WP Command and the focus was on middle and top management. Findings of the study indicate that the SA Army's WP Command's middle and top management supports the equality of men and women in general, but is reluctant to allow women to participate in combat roles side by side with their male counterparts. Although there seems to be an understanding and support for the policies of addressing equal opportunities, traditional cultural beliefs or stereotypes about women still shape and influence the acceptance and the non-acceptance of women in combat roles Finally, recommendations highlight issues of consideration when drafting policy vis-a-vis the utilisation of women as combat soldiers.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Reeds so vroeg as Uniewording van Suid Afrika in 1910 was geforseerde diskriminasie binne die weermag 'n kwessie wat beide ras en geslag beïnvloed het. Die totstandkoming van 'n demokrasie in Suid Afrika het fundamentele veranderinge in die sfeer van Staatsbestuur te weeg gebring. Een van hierdie veranderinge het betrekking op die transformasie van die staatsdiens, waarvan die Suid Afrikaanse Nasionale Weermag 'n deel is. Daar rus 'n konstitusionele en juridiese verpligting op staatsdepartmente om die demografiese samestelling van die bevolking van Suid Afrika te weerspieel. Die Department van Verdediging het 'n beleid van gelyke geleenthede en regstellende optrede ontwikkelom die rasse- en geslagsongelykhede van die verlede aan te spreek. Die beleid poog om individue en groepe teen onregverdige diskriminasie te beskerm en om billikheid in die werksomgewing te verseker. Hierdie studie poog om die omvang en invloed van geslagsdiskriminasie in die Suid- Afrikaanse Nasionale .Weermag te bepaal, met spesifieke verwysing na Kommandement Westelike Provinsie in die Suid-Afrikaanse Leer. Ten einde die omvang en invloed te bepaal is die houdings van middel- en topbestuur van Kommandement WP beoordeel met betrekking tot die aanwending of benutting van vrouens in 'n gevegsrol. Die studie poog om te bepaal of genoemde bestuurders vrouens aanmoedig om betrokke te raak by, of deel te neem in 'n gevegsrol. Data insameling het geskied deur middel van 'n gestruktureerde vraelys wat 58 vrae bevat het (Daar was ook 8 ongestruktureerde vrae ingesluit). Die steekproef is getrek uit lede van die Suid Afrikaanse Leer verbonde aan Kommandement Westelike Provinsie, met die spesifieke fokus op middel- en topbestuur. Bevindings van die studie dui daarop dat middel- en topbestuur van Kommandement Westelike Provinsie (SA Leer) oor die algemeen gelykheid tussen mans en dames ondersteun. Hulle is egter onwillig om vrouens toe te laat om sy aan sy met hul manlike eweknie in 'n gevegsrol te funksioneer. Alhoewel dit blyk dat daar begrip en steun bestaan vir die beleid wat gelyke geleenthede voorskryf, bepaal tradisionele kulturele oortuigings of stereotipes met betrekking tot vroue steeds die aanvaarding of nie-aanvaarding van vrouens in 'n gevegsrol. Die finale aanbeveling beklemtoon dat daar sekere kwessies is wat oorweging moet geniet wanneer 'n beleid ten opsigte van die benutting van vroue as soldate in 'n gevegsrol, opgestel word.

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