This issue of Agenda brings to the fore gender advocacy around the possibility of a transformative constitutionalism in the long-term struggle to achieve gender justice. The Constitution as the peremptory legal authority which governs all the laws on the statute book has enshrined equality, dignity and freedom as among its core values. The transition to the post-apartheid state is a long-term process, and this issue asks how far we have come. While the need for racism’s erasure from the statute book through the legislature and the courts has received most attention, gender equality, disability and the many other intersecting listed grounds of discrimination have often required legal rights activism and advocacy to be taken up. Despite the prevalence of sex and gender discrimination, they have often been afforded less weight by the courts because they are less visible than racism and because they often take place in the private sphere. This issue seeks to address how responsive the Constitution has been through its rulings in extending and expanding not only women’s formal rights to equality but substantive meanings of gender equality for women and further whether this has contributed to a citizenship that reflects the Constitution’s values of equality for all. It calls for critical reflection on the salutary aspects of the Constitution, for example, how the Equality Clause in the Bill of Rights has been translated into substantive equality in the recognition of gender difference and sexual orientation. At the same time, the progressive realisation limitation that it places on rights, especially socio-economic rights such as housing and health, has been a concern for social activists. Furthermore, the slow transformation of courts as patriarchal institutions has also acted as a restraint on the delivery of gender justice.

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