W24, South Africa’s biggest website for women recently conducted their sixth and biggest Female Nation Survey ever, with just under 16 000 South African women polled, and the findings are compelling.
While more than half of the total female respondents surveyed chose to identify with the statement: ‘I am a positive person’, 41% admitted to often feeling anxious and more than 1 in 4 said they are often scared. Of the women polled, 1 in 5 have been sexually abused or raped and 1 in 4 have been hit by a man, showing good reason for the sense of fear.
W24’s new editor Zanele Kumalo says “There is currently a powerful wave of awareness around female sexual abuse and harassment. It stemmed from the outcry around the Harvey Weinstein revelations and has grown into the global #metoo movement. It’s really important that W24 understands the day-to-day reality of being a woman in South Africa right now.”
Kumalo adds “The fact that 25% of South African women are scared could be why only a meagre 5% of the women polled said they have faith in the SAPS and an even more shockingly only 3% said they have faith in government. Let’s put that in perspective – if you were in a room with 32 other women, only 1 of you would have faith in government. That is massive.”
More positively, despite the high numbers of abuse and low numbers of trust, 1 in 3 women overall said they have faith in South Africa’s future and their future in it. Broken down into age groups, this number is highest among women 18-22 at 40% and lowest in women 61-65 at 20%.
The She Says Survey asked South African women about their lives: including information like living arrangements to their spending habits and from their greatest hopes to their most secret fears.
The 16 000 entries stemmed from all provinces, races, income brackets and ages. However only women over the age of 18 were allowed to enter and the number of respondents over 65 was slightly too low to be statistically significant. About 500 men also participated as did 171 people who identified as non-binary.