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‘Virgin bursary’ sparks debate on women’s rights

The Maidens Bursary is awarded to young women in higher learning institutions, only if they’re virgins.

graduation cap and certificate. Picture: Freeimages.com
KwaZulu Natal,Bursary given on basis on virginity,Bursary programme
Local

JOHANNESBURG - While the mayor of the UThukela District Municipality defends the so called “virgin bursary”, the programme has sparked debate around the country on whether it serves to protect or whether it constitutes a massive step backwards for women’s rights.                                                    

The Maidens Bursary is awarded to young women who want to attend higher learning institutions but only on the condition they remain virgins.

Municipal Mayor Dudu Mazibuko insists the programme is meant to encourage young women to focus on education.

“As a municipality, it is important that we give incentives to those young girls who have kept their virginity and also to encourage them to study further.”

Meanwhile, People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa) says the programme is unconstitutional.

Spokesperson Palesa Mpapa said, “The testing itself infringes their right to privacy which is stated in Section 14 of our Constitution of the Bill of Rights. The Constitution is there to protect our rights and once they do the testing on those girls, it means they are invading their right to privacy.”

The programme has drawn mixed reaction.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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