Women in Swaziland are generally heavily discriminated against in contrast to what the Swaziland Constitution Act 2005 says [1]. In Swazi customary law, women have the status of minors and as such have restricted access to certain social, government, and economic entitlements. For example a woman cannot get a bank loan without the consent of her husband, and cannot lease land without a man (husband or a son who is of age).

The Swaziland conservatives and patriarchal culture "ushito" (he/she said so) condones the widespread violation of women's rights in Swaziland, even though Swaziland has signed the convention of the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and Swaziland's constitution of 2005 (Section 28, sub-section 1 and 2) guarantees women the right to equal treatment with men (politically, economically and socially)[1].

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland Act 2005, as quoted below, guarantees the equal treatment of women with men and yet it practice, it is completely ignored by the government and authorities:

28. (1) Women have the right to equal treatment with men and that right shall include equal opportunities in political, economic and social activities.

(2) Subject to the availability of resources, the Government shall provide facilities and opportunities necessary to enhance the welfare of women to enable them to realise their full potential and advancement.

On the 11 March 2013 Swazi women rallied against Abuse and Inequality, in addition to the inferior legal standing of women, 1 in 3 females in Swaziland have experienced some form of sexual violence as a child, and nearly two thirds of 18 - 24 years old women have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime [2] says the IRIN report 2008. More than half of the sexual violence incidents committed against girls are not reported to anyone as they are not aware that the experience they had was abuse or they fear abandonment if they told anyone, because many men regard rape as a minor offence and many including the king have multiple sexual partners[2].

By: Bonisile Manyatsi


[1]. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland Act 2005, Page 25, Section 28, Rights and Freedoms of Women.

[2]. IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis - SWAZILAND: Every third woman sexually abused as a child, says report, http://www.irinnews.org/report/77685; Accessed 03 April 2015.