Roadmap to Equality December : Editorial note

Roadmap to Equality December : Editorial note


Date: December 21, 2017
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Welcome to the final 2017 edition of the Roadmap to Equality! Tracking progress towards the implementation and ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

The result of the just ended Africa National Congress (ANC) elections where only one woman was appointed to the top leadership is a sad reminder of the patriarchal nature of politics in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).This has resulted in the ANC’s feminist agenda facing a lot of scrutiny.

This comes just a few weeks after the women’s movement in Zimbabwe challenged the appointment of a predominantly male government by the country’s new President, Emmerson Mnangagwa. He later appointed an additional woman to the cabinet increasing the number to seven out of 32 men.

These events show that women in the region are still on the sidelines in political leadership, despite rhetoric to the contrary.

As part of the just ended 16 Days of Activism commemorations, Gender Links and Alliance partners launched the SADC Gender Protocol@Work Community of Practice on 8 December. The launch brought together partners and individuals from across SADC.

During the launch, GL facilitated forum discussions centred on “Empowering women, ending violence” in line with the 16 Days theme. Participants shared views on ending GBV and the region’s priorities for the Africa’s Union Gender Strategy which is currently under review.

As we wrap up 2017 move into a new year in a few days’ time, there is so much to reflect on as we focus on the successes and challenges experienced by the gender movement in the past year.

2017 started on a high note as more than a million women from across the globe on January 29 held solidarity events with Women’s March Global, to protest the rising attacks on the rights of women and minority groups. The march brought back to life the much needed fighting spirit as most women organisations are facing funding challenges.

The Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) 61 focused on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. The Alliance partnered with the government of Malawi to showcase how governments and civil society in Southern Africa are using the SADC Gender Protocol to advocate for economic justice.

In July, the SADC Gender Ministers adopted the Monitoring, Evaluation and Results Framework for the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. The Framework will go a long in holding member’s states accountable in achieving the targets of the Protocol.

The adoption of the revised SADC Gender Protocol (Protocol) and the accompanying MER framework led to the revision of the SADC Gender and Development Index (SGDI) which has been expanded from 23 to 36 indicators covering nine of the ten themes of the Protocol. This resulted in the production of the Alliance’s first post-2015 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer in August.  The 2017 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer was launched on SADC Day which is commemorated on August 17 each year.

Early this month Time magazine named ‘the Silence Breakers’ of the #Metoo campaign as ‘person’ of the year. #Metoo is a social media campaign being used to denounce sexual assault and harassment. While the campaign started a few ago years it only gained momentum in October when Hollywood actresses started speaking out on their sexual assault and harassment experiences with Hollywood former executive, Harvey Weinstein.

Since the first Time person of the year award in 1927, only a handful of women have received this honour. The recognition of the Silence Breakers is quite a significant move in the fight against GBV as the issue is now getting attention from the highest offices in politics and business.

GBV remains the most telling indicator of inequality in our society. The 2017 Gender Gap report shows that the gender gap has widened over the past year. The report makes a strong link between GBV the widening gender gap.  To reach global gender parity we will need to overcome the overall gap of 32 percent, compared to 31.7 percent last year.

Such sobering events serve as a call to governments, civil society and the private sector to work together in the coming year to come up with sustainable and innovative strategies to address gender inequality.

On behalf of the SADC Gender Protocol Alliance Secretariat, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy 2018!

Till next time

Lucia Makamure


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