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Thu, 12.16.1948

The African National Congress Women’s League is formed

African National Congress Women's League (logo)

*On this date in 1948, the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) was formed. The ANCWL is an auxiliary women's political organization of the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa.

This organization has its precedent in the Bantu Women's League, and it oscillated from being the Women's Section to the Women's League from its founding, through the exile years, and in post-apartheid South Africa. After women were allowed to become members of the ANC in 1943, the ANCWL was created so Black South African women could contribute to the national liberation struggle by channeling Black women's political activity into the ANC.

From its founding, the organization's structure, internal debates, and activity have been influenced by critical events in the national liberation struggle and by the ultimate authority of the ANC. There are conflicting accounts over the extent to which women and their issues were represented—the degree of organizational autonomy and the organization's relationship with feminist politics. After the ANC was allowed to return to South Africa in 1990, the ANCWL became a formal organization.

The most recent president of the ANCWL was Bathabile Dlamini, who held office from 2015 until April 2022, when the National Executive Committee of the mainstream ANC disbanded the entire national executive of the league.

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