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Abstract

Gender justice as envisaged in the South African Constitution serves as a transformative project intended to engender an inclusive society. The historical antecedent of the transformation agenda created a situation which systematically excluded people particularly women from being productive members of society. By means of the constitutional principle of substantive equality, the court creates avenue to remedy the injustices of the past. Twenty-four years into democracy, poverty and inequality remain persistent with women bearing the huge adverse impact. The restrictions to economic empowerment faced by women are largely due to cultural practices and a labour market that are insensitive to contributions made by women particularly at the household level. Other exclusionary factors that inhibit the socio-economic development of the people include race, gender and ethnicity. The interventions made so far with a view to eliminating poverty and inequality in South Africa by way of substantive equality and affirmative action unfortunately fall short of the desired goal. This article proposes the right to development as a tool to promote and realise economic inclusivity. The Right to Development (RTD) is an appropriate process of development that prioritises the human person and by implication the holistic approach to eliminate poverty in South Africa.

Note on the Author

Dr. Rita N. Ozoemena is an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. A member of Grayston Chambers of the Johannesburg Society of Advocates and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. Her research interests include in the area of business and human rights, gender justice and the right to development in Africa and she has published in those areas. Her multidisciplinary research focus area has placed in a position to critically engage with issues of law, society and development within the framework of the African Human Rights System. She had served on the Board of Amnesty International, South Africa and later became the Acting Executive Director. She currently is the Executive Secretary of the International Network on Corporate Social Responsibility (INCSR) as well as the Director of Programmes and Outreach of a youth advocacy organisation known as the Independent Pan African Youth Parliament (IPAYP).

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