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This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, for our series on women in the judiciary, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Judge Marisa Naude-Odendaal – from the Limpopo Division of the High Court, Polokwane. Judge Naude-Odendaal has had a strong sense of social justice from a young age which paved the way for a career in law. She gives us insight into real life experiences as a mother and professional, sharing how she used to drive 300km to and from work every day with her infant son, keep him under the “bench” and attend to him between sessions. She demonstrates that through self-determination, support structures and effective time management – everything is doable. We note that the legal system is constantly changing in response to the ever transforming environment. Judge Naude-Odendaal shares two recent precedent setting cases, from 2022, which have a significant impact on women. One case relates to maintenance orders, which now only prescribe 30 years after the order is issued, previously it was 3 years, which will allow claims for arrear maintenance. The second is recognition of Muslim marriages and the Marriage Act, lack of recognition means lack of protection of the rights of women and their children in the event of dissolution of these types of marriages. Judge Marisa Naude-Odendaal reminds us that women wear many hats, sometimes simultaneously, despite the pressures we face we should not allow anything to stop us from fulfilling our dreams. She says, “I think one must be fearless, set a goal and strive for it”. Tune in for more…

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