2018 Woman of Distinction Award

(December 18, 2017) – New York, NY –  Sizani Ngubane is the founder of the 50,000 strong South African Rural Women’s Movement (RMW)- an organization for rural women, by rural women.

At the grassroots or local level, RWM trains women in efficient farming, income generation, confidence building and mutual support, helping women through farming crises, and countering corruption and gender bias in land allocation. RWM works with community based organizations to challenge undemocratic practices and discriminatory laws through campaigns and test cases brought before the South African Court. 

The Rural Women’s Movement was the leader of the successful lawsuit that got the Communal Land Rights Act 11 of 2004 declared unconstitutional because it was unfair and enshrined gender bias. RWM campaigned tirelessly against the Traditional Courts Bill of 2008 and the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003.

Sizani Ngubane has overcome countless obstacles and has dedicated her life to advocacy for gender equality. Her accomplishments include the 2005 Nelson Mandela/Gracia Machel Innovation Award from the World Civicus Assembly, 2011 3rd Annual Ruth Selwyn Award for Achievement in Empowering Women and Girls at the International Centre for Human Rights Education and Finalist in the South Africa’s Women of the Year event.