File photo: GCIS

Johannesburg - The number of women in all three levels of government has increased over the past 18 years, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Monday.

In 1994 women made up 24 percent of provincial legislatures. This increased to 42 percent in 2009, a survey conducted by SAIRR shows.

In 2000, 28 percent of local government representatives were women, which increased to 38 percent in 2011.

In 1994, 28 percent of MPs were women, and in 2012, 51 percent.

According to the survey the African National Congress had the highest number, with 51 percent of its MPs being women in 2012.

A third of the Democratic Alliance's MPs were women.

The Inkatha Freedom Party had the lowest, with 22 percent.

The SAIRR's Georgina Alexander said: “While progress has been made in getting greater representation of women in politics, it is not necessarily enough to ensure that the real challenges facing women in the country are being addressed by the government.”

An example was the Traditional Courts Bill of 2012, she said.

This contradicted the gender Equality Bill, in that it excluded women from traditional courts.

“Women would therefore be excluded from attending proceedings in so-called ‘sacred-spaces’ and would require a man to speak on their behalf,” said Alexander.

“The bill could worsen conditions for millions of women living under traditional leadership in rural areas.” - Sapa