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Women migrants’ top reason for leaving South Africa

While women’s personal safety features as their top reason for immigrating they are spurred to do so by the lack in career opportunities and advancement available to them on home soil.

Women Migrants’ Top Reason For Leaving South Africa

South African women’s fears are substantiated by the fact that they face a barrage of sexual violence with more than 500 000 rapes reported annually – and the figure is climbing.


 It is estimated that over 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and that only 1 in 9 rapes are reported.  Shockingly only 14% of perpetrators of rape are convicted in South Africa.

Factors that influence woman abuse are the size of free media, efficiency of law enforcement, value system, level of compassion shown by general population and financial security.

Speaking to the City Press in May this year Deekay Sibanda, programmes officer at The One in Nine Campaign, said that the findings of a study commissioned by South Africa’s Statistician General presented nothing new, but rather frustrating and traumatising truths.

“Women are not safe in their own homes, own communities, own churches, own spaces and in their own country. For example, women are told not to walk at night, they must stay at home for their own safety, but this statement is wrong in so many ways. For me it doesn’t matter whether the [abuses and victimisation] happen in their homes or community. Abuse is abuse.”

The New World Wealth report states that women leave South Africa for Australia – which tops the list as the safest country for women worldwide. It is followed by New Zealand, Canada, USA and Scotland. These countries have stringent laws in place for women abusers.

The NWW report claimed that in future the safety of women will determine the long term prospects of a country.

“Countries with a good level of woman safety will outperform those with low levels of woman safety going forward” says the report.

But women also migrate to stand a chance at career growth.

According to Business Day South Africa has the highest number of highly skilled women professionals of any African country who are immigrating to other countries because of limited career opportunities at home.

This is according to an analysis of data by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which shows the migration patterns between all African countries and OECD countries.

This, combined with the analysis of data from the Institute for Futures Research at the University of Stellenbosch and the Commission for Gender Equality, shows that the number of women leaving South Africa for the world’s most popular immigrant destinations, such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, is growing faster than the men who are moving to the same countries.

In an interview with Business Day Mienke Steytler of the South African Institute of Race Relations said women were most affected by the lacklustre performance of the South African economy, which hampered their employment prospects.

"Young women tend to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them and if these opportunities are in other countries, they will take them, especially if they face such a high chance of not finding work," Steytler said.


Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom favoured highly skilled female migrants, and there were also fewer concerns for women over crime, healthcare, and education among other things, she said.

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