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Africa has taken strides in reversing its historical gender- and race-related discrimination. Although Apartheid and the suppression of non-white Africans is the best known example, there has also been a great deal of discrimination against women. The role of women in Africa has been largely as homemakers, negotiation goods, and prostitution; in fact, most African women are married or betrothed before the age of 18.
To fight this, the South African Parliament moved to ban gender discrimination in 2000, allowing women of all races rights to education and work outside of a marriage or family. The Employment Equity Act was a major goal in this area, as was the 2008 High Court ruling that allowed Chinese South Africans rights under the Black Economic Empowerment act. The BEE, which also contained language to empower women, has drawn criticism for its seeming bias towards non-whites (instead of focusing on equality for all) but it is nevertheless an important step. While women remain highly at risk for violence and disease -- especially HIV, which is partly a concern of undereducation -- Africa has become a more equal country in recent years.
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