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The campaign to stop gender-based violence has centred on laws to penalise it. That’s necessary, but not sufficient. The new legislation will remain mostly symbolic if we don’t spend more time (and resources) on understanding and tackling the systemic underpinnings of gender inequality.

In the economic context in particular, most women remain second-class citizens in terms of employment, income and assets. That leaves them vulnerable to family violence. The child support grant and old age pension have been critical in partially counteracting these realities by giving jobless women an income of their own...

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