Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

History and Philosophy

Committee Member

Dr. Joseph Engwenyu


This study examines the struggles of South African women from the beginning of the Union of South Africa and the period of Segregation to the period of national defiance during Apartheid, throughout all of its ebbs and flows. By contextualizing women’s struggle for political and gender liberation within the political struggle of black men in South Africa, this study broadens the picture of female involvement within the anti-Segregation and anti-Apartheid struggles. In formal organizations such as trade unions and the Federation of South African Women, by the force of grassroots movements and boycotts, and through the persistence of informal economic efforts, women contributed monumentally to the struggle for black liberation. Through the examination of primary sources and current historiographic debates, the study also demonstrates both the inherent presence of and explicit concern for women's issues along side the concern for black political liberation.