Roadmap to Equality: Editorial note

Roadmap to Equality: Editorial note

Date: March 5, 2018
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Welcome to the first edition of the Roadmap to Equality newsletter for 2018. Tracking progress towards the implementation and ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

This Thursday, we will be celebrating the International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual day set aside to celebrate the progress women have made in society socially, politically and economically. To mark this special day the Alliance will be a webinar that will connect members from across the SADC region. Participants will engage in a webinar discussion titled from Hashtags to Actions- Young Women Speak Out .

The year started on an exciting note as thousands of people across the globe commemorated the first anniversary of the Women’s March Global. On January 29 last year just a day after the inauguration of United States of America (USA) President, Donald Trump 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 has rejuvenated the women movement globally and has seen the rise of the #metoo and #timeup campaigns that are a call to challenge male privilege, sexual misconduct in arts, business and politics.

The Alliance secretariat used the Women’s march to commemorate and celebrate the lives of our late gender equality stalwarts, Sarry Xougus, Matrine Chuulu, Sienna Chingamuka and Malepota Mafeka.

In early February the Alliance hosted the Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) who were in South Africa to take lessons from Gender Links on how local authorities and community-based organisations are using the SADC Protocol on Gender and Equality to advance the lives of ordinary citizens.

The learning visit concluded with a field trip to Capricorn Municipal District where the group had a tour of Tiamaatla Development Centre in Sebayeng. The centre which used to be a single shack has over the last 15 years turned into a  drop-in centre comprising of a school, bakery, home-based care facility, community garden and community information and technology centre.

Our encounter with the Executive Director of Tiamaatla Development Centre, Melida Matsi and seeing the way she has managed to uplift her community opened my eyes to the fact that rural women are not as monolithic as sometimes portrayed in everyday narratives.

In most cases, rural women are mostly associated with poverty, food production and agriculture, yet there we were in deep rural Limpopo where women are involved in other economic activities that are contributing toward the development of their community.

This is an important observation to consider as we gear up for the annual Commission of the Status of Women (CSW62) to be held from 12-23 March under the theme, “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.

From 13-15 February gender equality advocates from across the continent gathered in Johannesburg for the 8th Africa Sexual and Health Rights Conference. The conference, which was hosted by Youth Lab, a South African non-profit focused on youth engagement in shaping policy and addressing socioeconomic issues.

The Alliance will also in the month of March hold country level Constitutional review meetings in Angola, DRC, Malawi, Seychelles, South Africa Tanzania and Zambia. Botswana and Mauritius are also set to have their SADC Gender Protocol @work summits.

Have a great Women’s Day as we continue to #PressforProgress in getting to #Planet5050

Till next time,

Lucia Makamure

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