In South Africa, a regional health minister has been chastised for ordering schoolgirls to "open your books and close your legs."

In South Africa, a regional health minister has been chastised for ordering schoolgirls to “open your books and close your legs.”

During a visit to a secondary school, Phophi Ramathuba made the remark in an attempt to advocate abstinence and lower adolescent pregnancy rates.

Users on social media chastised the remark, asking why it was solely addressed at women.

Ms Ramathuba defended the message, claiming that it was also directed towards boys.

On Wednesday, the Limpopo province’s health minister paid a visit to Gwenane secondary school in the Sekgakgapeng community to commemorate the start of the new academic year.

“I tell the girl youngster to open her books and cross her legs. Instead of opening your legs, you should open your books. “Thank you so much,” she said to the students.

She went on to say that older males were luring girls in with luxuries like expensive wigs and smart phones.

After a video of the lecture was circulated on social media, the remarks generated outrage.

One social media user remarked, “This is not an appropriate approach to communicate to kids about abuse, sex, and consent.”

Siviwe Gwarube, a member of the opposition, called the remarks “very disturbing.”

“This was an opportunity to have a meaningful dialogue about consent with these students… Instead, you place blame on the victim. “Put unnecessary pressure on girls,” she remarked in a Twitter message.

Ms Ramathuba told TimesLIVE in South Africa that her statement had been taken out of context and that it was meant towards boys as well.

“I told the males not to sleep with girls and to concentrate on their schooling,” she claimed.
She went on to say that her Limpopo constituents “liked the message.”

“They were even thanking me for calling a spade a spade because they were hesitant to say these things,” she claimed.

According to government figures, about 33,400 girls under the age of 17 would give birth in South Africa by 2020.

According to Save the Children, a lack of comprehensive sex education, as well as inexpensive and appropriate health treatments, are important contributors in teen pregnancy in South Africa.


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