Unlawful

University scholarships for female virgins ruled discriminatory

During the Reed Ceremony, young women dance bare-breasted for the Zulu king, in a custom celebrating keeping girls as virgins until marriage. ( MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Commission for Gender Equality in South Africa has ruled that university scholarships offered to female virgins were unlawful and should be discontinued. The controversial scheme, unveiled in January by the mayor of the Uthukela municipality in KwaZulu-Natal province, Dudu Mazibuko, aimed to reduce the spread of AIDS and child pregnancies. Mazibuko told media at the time that the virginity tests would not be carried out by officials of the region or universities, because schoolgirls had already undergone examinations as part of an annual ceremony hosted by the Zulu king.

The Commission ruled that financial aid “contingent on a female student’s virginity is fundamentally discriminatory.”

“It goes against the ethos of the constitutional provisions in relation to dignity, equality and discrimination.

“Virginity is not intrinsic to the task of studying,” it added.

The municipality has 60 days to respond to the ruling.

Read the full story at the BBC.

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