African National Congress Women's League
The African National Congress Women's League is the women's wing of the African National Congress (ANC). It was founded in 1931 as the Bantu Women's League, with Charlotte Maxeke as its first president. It was integrated into the ANC during the period from 1943, when women were first admitted as members of the ANC, to 1948, when the ANCWL was officially founded. It participated with the Federation of South African Women in protests against the apartheid-era government, such as the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the Women's March of 9 August 1956. In 1956, Lilian Ngoyi became the first elected female member of the ANC National Executive Committee. In 1960 the organization was banned along with the ANC forcing its central leaders underground; it was unbanned in 1990 when the ANC was likewise unbanned.
The League's current president is Bathabile Dlamini.
Among the activists and politicians who were allied with the ANC during the apartheid years are:
- Lillian Ngoyi
- Helen Joseph
- Dorothy Nyembe
- Sophie du Bruyn
- Ray Alexander and Rayn Alexander
- Frances Baard
- Rahima Moosa
- Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
- Ida Mntwana
- Ruth Mompati
In 1994, a revived African National Congress Women's League negotiated a number of constitutional provisions and policy stands favorable to women; however, some of these have not yet been implemented.
The ANC Women's League has been criticised for failing to take up women's issues in recent years.