SA Human Rights Commission deputy-chairwoman Pregs Govender. File photo by: Timothy Bowle.

Women continued to face challenges in accessing their rights, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Friday.

“South African women still face serious challenges in realising their human rights as enshrined in the Constitution,” deputy-chairwoman Pregs Govender said in a statement.

“We need to understand why there are still such high levels of poverty, inequality, unemployment and violence directed at women and girls,” said Govender.

Friday, March 8, is International Women's Day.

Meanwhile International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said: “Acts of brutal violence against women, rape and murder necessitate that we raise awareness to combat and prevent this scourge in our society.”

The Young Communist League of SA said women continued to be on the receiving end of violence, particularly rape.

Spokesman Khaya Xaba said the media was not doing enough in reporting violence against women.

“In order to highlight the scourge of rape every incident should be reported. One rape is one too many for society to accept,” Xaba said.

The chairwoman of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, congratulated women for the role they played in the liberation of the continent and the role they continued to play in the economic security of their families.

Dlamini-Zuma was speaking at a meeting held at African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa.

About 500 schoolchildren marched in central Johannesburg on Friday to protest against increasing levels of violence against women and children.

Metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the marchers did not hand over a memorandum, but marched peacefully along Eloff, Plein, and Webber streets.

The African National Congress said no one could truly be free unless women were free.

“We bow our heads to the progressive women of the world for having consistently fought to reclaim their position in society,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement. -Sapa