Sexual and Reproductive Rights Programme

The Sexual and Reproductive Rights Programme seeks to support research, networking and activism which prioritizes sexual and reproductive rights. The programme also strives to strengthen young women’s leadership in sexual and reproductive rights work, to address issues of violence against women, to work with LGBTIQ writers and activists on the continent, and to develop theoretical frameworks which can drive new approaches to understanding and implementing sexual and reproductive rights contextually.

Our flagship project is the Young Women's Leadership project

Sexual & Reproductive Rights Programme: Areas of Work


Partnership Building

Public Intellectual Dialogue

Capacity Building

Programme Convenors:

Dr Barbara Boswell

Dr Barbara Boswell is a Project Officer for the Young Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Leadership Project at the African Gender Institute. At UCT she coordinates an action research group on sexual and reproductive health rights, while providing support for action research projects on SRHR at five SADC universities. Barbara has a PhD in Women's Studies from the University of Maryland, a Master's degree in Gender and Women's Studies from the University of the Western Cape, and an undergraduate journalism degree from Peninsula Technikon. She has worked as a lecturer and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Virginia in the US. Her research interests include youth sexualities, feminist and women's movements, and feminist approaches to black South African literature.

Telephone: +27 (0) 21 650 4209 Email: barbara.boswell(at)

Associate Prof. Jane Bennett

Jane Bennett has disciplinary backgrounds in literature, linguistics, sociology and feminist theory, and has worked at the State University of New York, Barnard College, and since 1999, within the University of Cape Town. Her research interests are in feminist theory, sexualities, pedagogies and violence and she has published many articles and book chapters in these areas. She is also interested in research which is allied to political activism, in different areas, within and beyond university spaces within the African continent. She writes both fiction and non-fiction. She works regularly with colleagues at the University of Buenos Aires, Makerere University, the University of Ghana, the University of California (Davis) and the Human Sciences Research Council. She also works with a number of NGOs across Southern and Eastern Africa. In the African Gender Institute, she is responsible for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses, postgraduate supervision, research development and networking, research and publication, and the convenorship of core programmes in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics.

Contact Details:
Tel: (+27) 21 650-4203

Marion Stevens (Associate at the African Gender Institute)


Marion Stevens has a background as a midwife, in medical anthropology and in public and development. She has worked in the area of sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS for some 20 years. She is currently the coordinator of WISH Associates (Women in Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health) a network of nine South African consultant activists.

In the past few years her work has involved a range of high level activities including the responsibility of developing two South African policies. She developed the Learner Pregnancy strategy for the Department of Basic Education and the Adolescent Health policy for the Department of Health. Both these processes involved the engagement and participation of a range of stakeholders. She is also currently on the National Department of Health task teams for the development of the revised contraception guidelines and the new Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights implementation Strategy framework. She also recently developed a training manual for health workers in relation to sexual orientation and gender identities. She has just completed leading an evaluation process internationally in reviewing the work of the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights currently located in the Philippines’. Marion is also well networked into local South African civil society groups. Content areas:HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and rights, women’s health, key populations, diversity and gender, health systems and human resources. Capacity and skills: Project management, advocacy & networking, facilitation & teaching, organisational development, report writing, proposal writing & fundraising, qualitative & quantitative research, strategy, policy analysis and development, monitoring and evaluation, and business analysis.


UCT Press and the Book Lounge cordially invite you to the launch of Jacketed Women - Qualitative research methodologies on gender and sexualities in Africa, edited by Jane Bennett and Charmaine Pereira, featuring a discussion between co-editor, Jane Bennett and guest speakers Pumla Gqola and Divine Fuh.

Please RSVP to Portia Gqamane ( / 021 659 2340)

Jane Bennett has disciplinary backgrounds in literature, linguistics, sociology and feminist theory, and has worked at the State University of New York, Barnard College, and since 1999, within the University of Cape Town.

Source: Mail & Guardian 

By Zethu Matebeni

The last few months have stimulated long overdue conversations and action in higher education institutions in South Africa. Rhodes Must Fall, over and over again. The concrete structure may be gone from the steps of the UCT upper campus, but its shadow remains — blocking the same path that leads to possible liberation. It is not yet uhuru. The promise of freedom is not for tomorrow. The wait is charged with the hard work of decolonisation. Often misrecognised as the new buzz word next to transformation, its content is often not so easily embraced. READ MORE


By Sylvia Tamale

As most of us know, Sexuality is one of the most complex and politicized issues on the African continent.  If Sexuality were to look in the mirror, she would see numerous faces.  In these brief notes, I map out ten different “faces” of sexuality as they have been manifested in Uganda, analyzing their intersections with human rights plus the de jure and de facto rules and norms that mould and paint their features. READ MORE.

The Young Women’s Leadership Project - African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town presents: ADMISSION RESERVED.

The Young Women's Leaderhip team at the University of the Witwatersrand has published! Their article is titled: 'Half of the picture: Interrogating common sense gendered beliefs surrounding sexual harassment practices in higher education' and is published by the Agenda journal. Below, please see the reference for the article:


Source: IOL News (13 July 2015)
By Sherlissa Peters
Durban - *Samantha is a 17-year-old girl who aborted her five-month-old foetus at an illegal back-alley clinic in Pietermaritzburg last month. Since then, Samantha has suffered severe pain and abnormal bleeding, and was forced to tell her mother, who rushed her to their family doctor. READ MORE
Source: Mail & Guardian (29 June 2015)
MOZAMBIQUE decriminalised homosexuality on Monday when a new penal code came into force that swept away old Portuguese colonial laws, in a victory for campaigners for gay rights in Africa.
The old code, dating back to 1886, targeted anyone “who habitually engages in vices against nature”—but no known prosecutions took place after Mozambique became independent in 1975. READ MORE

Speech by Andile Mthombeni (YWL Project, Wits University) at the SA AIDS Conference in Durban 


Subscribe to Sexual and Reproductive Rights Programme