National Movement of Rural Women

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The National Movement of Rural Women (NMRW) is a nonprofit, grassroots organization founded in South Africa in 1990. It was formerly known as the Rural Women's Movement (RWM).[1] The purpose of NMRW was to give a voice to rural women in South Africa. Many women in the 1990s were not able to inherit land or speak freely about problems they faced in the community.[2] In addition, until 1994, married black women were considered minors by the law.[3] NMRW has also been a champion of the recognition of customary law.[4] NMRW has helped women set up their own methods of employment and to resist oppressive traditions in customary law.[5] NMRW is headquartered in Marshalltown.[6]


The Rural Women's Movement (RWM) was launched in 1990,[7] with Sizani Ngubane as the founder.[8] Another important person in the creation of RWM was Lydia Kompe, a trade unionist and rural women's advocate.[9] RWM worked as an umbrella organization to "mobilize over 500 women's groups."[10] With help from the Transvaal Rural Action Committee (TRAC), in June 1991, RWM drafted an organizational constitution.[2] RWM had several objectives in place by 1993, including increasing women's participation in village meetings or kgotlas, meeting with the government, changing "oppressive traditions," access to land for both single and married women, and women's representation in negotiations and government.[2] Because it was taboo, according to custom, for women to speak out in public meetings, those who "did speak out were often beaten by their husbands for doing so and over 50 per cent of RWM's membership faced domestic violence."[5] Another issue faced by RWM was illegal land sales and levies charged by traditional leaders.[11]

In 2008, RWM obtained a lease for a farm near Mpophomeni township where they would be able to build a training facility.[12]

Later, the RWM changed its name to the National Movement of Rural Women (NMRW).[1]



  1. ^ a b Moshenberg, Dan (21 February 2014). "The Traditional Courts Bill is dead. Long live Sizani Ngubane!". Women in and Beyond the Global. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Mann, Michelle (March 2001). "Access to Land". World & I. 16 (3): 202. Retrieved 17 September 2016 – via EBSCOhost.
  3. ^ Moore, Elena; Himonga, Chuma (1 March 2016). "South Africa: Customary Marriage - Is the Law Working?". All Africa. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  4. ^ Haffajee, Ferial (1999). "South African: Blending Tradition and Change". UNESCO Courier. 52 (11): 33. Retrieved 17 September 2016 – via EBSCOhost.
  5. ^ a b Bachram, Heidi (2007). "Power Surge". New Internationalist (400): 9. Retrieved 17 September 2016 – via EBSCOhost.
  6. ^ "National Movement of Rural Women". National Movement of Rural Women. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  7. ^ SPEAK 1994, p. 6.
  8. ^ Turley, Melissa (26 September 2012). "South Africa: Law of the Land". Pulitzer Center. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Lydia Kompe". South African History Online. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  10. ^ Kramer, Melinda (June 2006). "Women's Global Green Action Network". Earth Island Journal. 21 (3): 16. Retrieved 17 September 2016 – via EBSCOhost.
  11. ^ West, Edward (9 July 2012). "A Lifetime of Fighting for Women's Rights". Business Day BD Live. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  12. ^ Lee, Peta (8 April 2015). "Skills Training for Rural Women". The Mercury. Archived from the original on 8 October 2016. Retrieved 19 September 2016 – via HighBeam Research.


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