Helen Suzman (1993), a long-term antiapartheid member of parliament (MP), observed that in 1953, her first year, there were actually four women in parliament. Two were fellow United Party members, and one was a member of the Liberal Party. Suzman, a liberal, dealt primarily with racial issues, although she also advocated equal rights for women regarding marriage, divorce, abortion, and employment. White women had been enfranchised in 1930 to counter the nonwhite male vote. In general racial and gender issues were not intertwined. However, in 1955 liberal white women founded the Black Sash to protest the proposed disenfranchisement of Coloured men. Members argued for respect for the South African constitution. In the 1970s the Black Sash set up "advice offices" in major cities to assist blacks with problems regarding "influx
control, unemployment, contracts, housing, and pensions" (Saunders).
Black women were particularly discriminated against with influx control and pass laws, extended to women in 1956. Influx control was a policy designed to direct the flow of black labor to "white" urban areas for employment and to rural farms. With the Nationalist victory in 1948, influx control regulations were enhanced. Pass laws regulated document requirements for black people. Jacklyn Cock examined their status as domestic servants in suburban white households. In Maids and Madams, Cock reports on a study of 800,000 black domestic servants. She examines their status as workers and mothers and their dependency relationships with their white
madams. Black domestic workers neglected their own families to be at the beck and call of the white madams and often lived in servants' quarters near the madams' houses. This enabled the madam to engage in leisure activities or to pursue employment to enhance her family's income. Cock illuminates gradations of female exploitation in the South African context in focusing on the relationship between maid and madam.
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