Equality & Non-Discrimination


The primary objective of the LRC’s gender work is to ensure substantive equality for all women in South Africa. Its primary focus areas include:

  • gender-based violence,
  • harassment,
  • discrimination,
  • equality in the workplace,
  • customary and religious laws, and
  • access to land and housing.

The LRC empowers women by providing them with free legal advice and effective legal representation. Through strategic litigation, the LRC has been instrumental in developing a strong jurisprudence of substantive gender equality.

LRC victories include the following key court decisions:

The LRC represented parties in the Constitutional Court decisions in Shibi and Bhe, where the Court suspended customary law rules of male primogeniture until such time as Parliament could redress them.

In the Kambule case, the LRC obtained a judgment which provided that a customary law marriage, though not registered under the Transkei Marriages Act, was still valid, helping to ensure legal benefits for the surviving spouse.

In a more recent case Shilubana, the LRC represented the amici in a landmark judgment in which the Constitutional Court ruled that the development of living customary law by traditional authorities in accordance with the Constitutional right to equality was valid and thus a woman can be a traditional chief.

You can read the Constitutional Court’s judgment on Tinyiko Lwandhlamuni Philla Nwamitwa Shilubana & Others v Sidwell Mwamitwa.