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Safeguarding the rights of women and girls is a special concern within the context of prevailing gender discrimination and violence in South African societies, often rooted in cultural or religious contexts. In a South Africa Netherlands research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD)-funded international research project (2010–2013), women teachers, mothers, and caregivers in selected schools were engaged in research which used an innovative approach which we defined as Communities in Conversation (CiC). In this article, we examine the potential of CiC to support women’s empowerment, and share our experiences of using CiC in two school communities. CiC involves women in conversations that focused on human rights and human rights education within the context of gender, culture, and religion. As such, it offered participating women opportunities for sharing and learning, and developing friendships and feelings of solidarity which are particularly important for empowerment processes.
This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.

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