Gender Justice Barometer Issue 23

Date: January 1, 1970
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ISSUE 23:  
MAY 2008  


*Regional: Alliance calls for SADC leaders to take stronger action on draft Gender Protocol
*Botswana: Leaders urged to sign Gender Protocol
* Make your voice heard: Join the draft Protocol on line discussion

*Namibia: Namibian women want more rights to land
*Mauritius: Painful reality of rape in marriage

*Regional: Campaign for financing gender equality
*Regional: Women’s representation in the Lower House of Parliament

* South Africa: Put to the test in its provision of basic services
* South Africa: Migrants seek assistance to return home
* Malawi: Brain drain hits safe motherhood


*South Africa: Can journalists be activists
*Seychelles: To develop communication strategy around Domestic Violence National Strategy

*Regional: SADC making progress in developing National Action Plans to End GBV
*Measuring GBV in Southern Africa
*Angola: Family minister, MPs debate gender budgeting


The Gender Justice Barometer is a joint project of Gender Links and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network
* South Africa: Women and children bear the brunt of xenophobia attacks
*Mozambique: Surviving xenophobia, the long road ahead
*South Africa: IOM press release
*Lesotho: From a campaign to a National Action Plan to End GBV
* Namibia: Country meets target on gender balance 
*Prevention of GBV: Women empowerment promising models featured: 
* IMAGE Study

South Africa: Women and children bear the brunt of xenophobia attacks
The xenophobia attacks have left many families stranded at police stations and other places of safety.  Many families have lost everything they worked for. Women bear the burden of double marginalisation as explained by Romi Fuller in her article: Double jeopardy for women migrants:
Photograph copyright: Nde Ndifonka, IOM 2008

In the wave of xenophobic violence that swept across South Africa in the past weeks, more than 50 people have died, hundreds are injured, and thousands displaced. While media reports described the brutality of the attacks on foreign nationals – which have included people being beaten, stabbed, torched and dispossessed of their belongings and homes – there has been little consideration to the double jeopardy of being both foreign and female that renders women especially vulnerable in this deepening crisis

Foreign women in townships have been disproportionately affected by the recent xenophobia, not only because the violence has played out on the site of their bodies (through beatings nand rape), but also because the violence has been directed towards their homes (through burning and looting).

At the same time, within South Africa’s undisputedly patriarchal society, women have also been thrust into the conflict as a real and potential source of violence between South African and foreign men. Again and again, we hear South African men accusing foreign nationals of "stealing our women". Read full article
Source: GL Opinion and Commentary Service

Mozambique: Surviving xenophobia, the long road ahead

This year, toasts to 25 May Africa Day have been very different in Southern Africa. Rather than attending multi-cultural music concerts or art exhibitions meant to celebrate African culture and diversity, thousands of immigrants to South Africa were in camps or fleeing with only the shirts on their backs, while the whole region engages in self-analysis to try to understand the horrific xenophobic violence that happened over the past weeks.  

Although the crisis appears to be dying down, with less images and stories of violence splashed across the newspapers, and many have stepped up to say no to the violence, for the thousands of displaced, this is just the beginning of their struggle to put their lives back together.  They will struggle long past when this sad period becomes history for the rest of us. Read full article
Source: GL Opinion and Commentary Service
South Africa: IOM Press Release 
IOM, METRO FM Join Forces to Combat Xenophobic Attacks, Aid Victims – IOM’s Southern Africa Regional Office and METRO FM, South Africa’s largest urban commercial radio station, are joining forces to combat the spate of xenophobic attacks that have swept the country and to help the victims.
The joint initiative comprises an information campaign promoting diversity and tolerance, together with an assistance programme targeting both foreigners and South Africans negatively affected by the violence.
IOM is providing 2,000 assistance packs containing basic sanitary and nutritional items, including mats and blankets, to meet the immediate needs of some of the 13,000 people believed to have been displaced.
For more information please contact Nde Ndifonka at IOM Pretoria – Tel:             +27.82.667.27.76        or             +27.12.342.27.89       , Email:

Links to related articles on Xenophobia

Xenophobia is a violation of human rights
The Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns those responsible directly or indirectly for the state of Xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Research and publications on xenophobia by the Centre for Violence and Reconciliation  

Extensive research reports and website provides further links to resources. It provides a rich resource base for research and archiving of responses to xenophobia in Southern Africa.

Lesotho: From a campaign to a National Action Plan to End GBV

 “If we fight gender violence 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, we can end this scourge!” – Malejaka Lepooane, Commissioner of Police, May 2008, Lesotho Copyright: Colleen Lowe Morna

Lesotho has intensified the fight against gender based violence by developing a multi-sector 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender Violence at a workshop held 5 – 7 May. Stakeholders at the workshop resolved to pull together in tackling gender violence every single day of the 365 days of the year. 

Other than coming up with the action plan which used the SADC Addendum on the Prevention and Eradication of Violence against Women and Children as a framework, the  plan concrete outcomes emerged from the workshop to ensure that the plan is taken to local level.    The Gender Ministry with the assistance of the Gender Technical Committee (GTC) will take the lead in the implementation of the National Action Plan. Sector specific committees dealing with GBV at national, district, community and village level will take the plan forward. Local government structures will be instrumental in popularising the action plan through local councillors. Workshops will be held in each of the ten districts as part of the rolling out of gender action plans in district councils.  

Task teams will be formed at the district level involving key people such as traditional leaders, religious leaders, survivors of gender violence, people with disabilities among others. The plan will be canvassed with the community to facilitate ownership of the process. The plan will be translated into Sesotho before being lauched at National and District level during the 2008 Sixteen Days period.

The development of a GBV Country Plan of Action is in line with the Gender Component of the 5th Country Programme of Cooperation between Government of Lesotho and UNFPA being implemented by the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation whose corresponding output is to ensure increased capacity of government and civil society organizations to prevent gender-based violence.   

It also builds on the recommendations of the 2007 Sixteen Days of Activism in Lesotho which emphasised that ‘the campaign should go beyond 16 Days in terms of adopting the 365 days campaign  and advocating for the formulation of a national programme on gender based violence.

The three day workshop was held by the Lesotho Ministry of Gender, Sports and Recreation, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Gender and Media Southern Africa Network – Lesotho chapter with technical assistance from Gender Links. 

Lesotho joins nine other SADC countries that have developed action plans to end gender violence which include: Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe 

Read related article
View draft Lesotho National Action Plan to End Gender Violence

Namibia: Country meets target on gender balance
Namibia has become the fourth country within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to attain the target of 30 percent women representation in the National Assembly, finally fulfilling the quota set by SADC.

Namibia joins Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique in fulfilling this quota. SADC governments committed themselves to have women occupy at least 30 percent of positions in political and decision-making structures by 2005. Southern African leaders made this commitment by signing the SADC Gender and Development Declaration in 1997.

The number of female legislators against the total of 78 members of the National Assembly stands at 24, which translates to 31 percent in accordance with the 1997 SADC declaration.

Recently, the nation witnessed the swearing in of Juliet Kavetuna, former Secretary General of the National Youth Council. She took up the post formerly held by the late Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, John Pandeni, who died in a car accident in March.
Read full article


Regional: Alliance calls for SADC leaders to take stronger action on draft Gender Protocol

The Southern African Protocol Alliance has urged SADC leaders to take stronger action on draft Gender and Development Protocol following the Gender Ministers meeting held in Windhoek from 28 – 30 April 2008. 

The Alliance which met on the sidelines of the Gender Ministers meeting expressed concern on a number of issues that continue to compromise the marginal gains in achieving gender equality and equity in the region. The following remain contenscious issues:

> The exclusion of marital rape. 
> No clause on prohibiting persons under 18 to marry.
> There is no recognition of the rights of socially excluded and vulnerable groups which need to be protected.
> There is silence on the rights of cohabiting couples.
> There is no agreement on the issue of maternity and paternity leave, were some states felt that where a man has more than one wife, the issue of paternity leave would not be practical.
> Officials feel that the draft uses obligatory language and is prescriptive.

The Alliance will continue to lobby that these and other concerns are dealt with before the draft Protocol is signed, it is hoped, at the August Heads of State Summit.

Click here to view Alliance position paper released ahead of the 28 – 30 April Gender Ministers meeting and latest draft SADC Gender and Development Protocol

Botswana: Leaders urged to sign Gender Protocol

Gender activists meeting at a national consultative meeting in Botswana have called for Heads of State to sign the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development.

A member of the SADC Gender Protocol Alliance, Elsie Alexander said, at a briefing held on 23 May, that there is a need to convince leaders to sign the protocol at a summit in South Africa to be held in August. The protocol’s objective is to empower women, to eliminate discrimination and to achieve gender equality and equity through development and gender responsive legislation, policies, programmes and projects.

The alliance meeting agreed to make efforts in lobbying for some of these areas that have been dropped in the draft protocol before the August summit. Read full article
Source: Mmegi


Namibia: Namibian women want more rights to land
Shortcomings in laws dealing with communal land rights and traditional authorities are so diverse that they should be amended to better secure property rights for widows and single women, handle land disputes and give land boards more clout to act, a new study reveals.
A report released by the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) with the title ‘Protection For Women in Namibia’s Communal Land Reform Act: Is it Working?’ says rural people, especially women in the four north-central regions, were mostly uninformed abut their land rights and thus did not turn to the relevant authorities to claim these rights.
"The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement should embark on an aggressive information campaign to educate land right holders about their rights and to end property grabbing of homesteads from widows," recommends Wolfgang Werner, author of the 40-page publication. Read full article
Mauritius: Painful reality of rape in marriage
Who would believe you if you tell people that your own husband has raped you? They would laugh at you and tell you it is his right since he is legally married to you. Even when he does it with a butcher’s knife under your throat, you have to keep quiet and cannot go to the police,” said Amen,* with a lump in her throat. 
The recognition of marital rape is not only key to women’s rights, but has become an issue with irreversible consequences with the pandemic of HIV and AIDS. In many countries of the region, including Mauritius, the relationship between gender violence and HIV and AIDS has not been adequately addressed. Women who experience violence have little negotiating power when it comes to safe sex.
International organisations and agreements recognise marital rape as a human rights violation, and countries such as Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Seychelles have domesticated this position in their criminal justice system. It is time for the rest of the region to follow suit. Women should be safe, on the streets and inside their own homes. Read full article
Source: GL Opinion and Commentary Service


Regional: Campaign for financing of gender equality
Countries in Southern Africa have embarked on a campaign aimed at raising awareness outcomes of the CSW meeting which focused on the need to allocate adequate resources towards gender equality.
The campaign being conducted in 10 Southern African countries is spearheaded by the Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSA) with support from UNIFEM. Among the activities are cyber dialogues that will be held between July and August.

Objectives of the campaign are:
*To provide a forum for women in Southern Africa to air their views on financing for gender equality.
*To provoke vigorous debate in the public space on measures needed to redress this through online discussions and the commissioning of opinion pieces related to this.   
*To lobby for the inclusion of strong provisions in the CSW meeting outcome documents. 
*To encourage increased coverage of gender financing issues in the mainstream media through providing source material to newspapers and discussion to the extensive media outlets that the partners work with. 
*To build on a concept and tools developed by two African NGOs and successfully employed in the Beijing Plus Ten Review in mobilizing women and the media around gender justice concerns using ICTs.
*To strengthen the gender and media networks such as the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network to ensure their effective participation in gender equality campaigns. 
*To strengthen networking among gender activists in Southern Africa and to empower women to play an effective role in these networking activities that often rely heavily on the use of ICTs.

Regional: Women’s representation in the Lower House of Parliament
The EISA has made available information on the proportion of women in the lower house of parliaments of Southern African countries. As far as is possible, every effort was made to exclude nominated and ex officio members from the tallies. Mozambique leads the way with 35.60% women representation achieved in the election last held in 2004 while Madagascar trails behind with 7.87% women representation obtained in 2007. 

While there is general improvements in women representation some coutries that have held elections recently in 2007 and 2008 such as Seychelles and Zimbabwe reflect a steady decline. The marginal gains that have been achieved over the years have to be guarded jealously. View recent tallies 


South Africa has been put to the test in its provision of services

South African government has to a large extent been found wanting in the provision of services in several high density areas affected by the xenophobic attacks. In fact it has been argued in some reports that it is lack of basic services that led to this outbreak of senseless violence with locals feeling that their welfare is being compromised by the foreigners who are taking their jobs and overwhelming government’s service delivery to several townships.

As a result the country found itself in a state of unpreparedness to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. Several NGOs, international organisations, businesses, churches, individuals and other social institutions have stepped in, in an unprecedented way which has helped ease the otherwise still grave situation. 
The article below from the IOM is an example of the level of service delivery required to either help the foreigners who now have no sense of security to go back to their countries of origin or get the townships get back to normal.
However there is a sense that this problem needs to be dealt with holistically by all Southern African governments because other crises maybe brewing in receiving countries particularly in the face of an unstable neighbouring country, ZImbabwe.
South Africa: Migrants seek assistance to return home

Thousands of foreigners fleeing South Africa in the aftermath of the ongoing xenophobic attacks are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, prior to and after arrival in their home countries with IOM receiving constant requests for voluntary return assistance from many different nationalities.
"We are currently assessing the numbers and needs of people who need assistance to return home and are consulting with South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs to roll out an appropriate response," says Liselott Verduijn, IOM regional programme development officer in Pretoria. "So far, IOM has been contacted directly by hundreds of people urgently requesting such assistance." Read more
Malawi: Brain drain hits safe motherhood

Most health workers in Malawi, and even across Southern Africa, dream of trekking to the United Kingdom or other far off places, drawn by prospects of good remuneration and working conditions. Yet this outward trek endangers the lives of the thousands of pregnant women left behind.
"Inadequate staffing in hospitals is contributing to high cases of maternal mortality, nurses have too much work load," laments Dorothy Ngoma, National Association of Nurses in Malawi (NANM) Executive Director. Read full article       
Source: GL Opinion and Commentary Service


Journalists as activists

The question of whether journalists can be activists or should be activists prompts much debate always. Would this compromise their objectivity?  These were some of the questions tackled at the lauch of a Gender and Media Diversity Journal: Media, Activism and Change, on 5 May in commemoration of Press Freedom Day. The event was organised by the Gender Media and Diversity Centre (GMDC) which is hosted by Gender Links.

A face to face discussion led  by panellists comprising editors, NGO representatives and a survivor of gender violence was held. Many issues were brought to the fore.  Debbie Walter, co-editor of the journal spoke of her experiences in putting together the journal. She contended that many questions and contradictions arose about the role of the media, as well as how activists are using media to forward their own agendas.

Susan Smuts an editor of the column ‘Everyone knows someone series’ at the Sunday Times "Media activism allows for issues in society to be seen and given a chance". This is exemplified by the overwhelming response to the column they have received. Initially meant to run for a month when it first started in 2006, the column is now run every Sunday. The stories are uniquue and give the human face to HIV and AIDS. Sharing of these stories in this way is powerful as it shows to the average perso the reality that is rarely seen in mainstream newspapers.   

Maleshoane Motsiri a participant of the ‘I’ Stories series – first hand accounts of surviving gender violence – run by Gender Links reiterated this when she spoke of her experience of using media to express herself.  She found it empowering and a chance to share experiences with fellow survivors and the rest of the public.  Motsiri said "Writing an ‘I’ story, putting my experiences on paper was a liberating and healing experience"

After the face to face discussions a regional cyber dialogue was conducted which focussed on the topic: Should journalists be activists? Again the same issues arose where on the one hand participants felt journalists should be geared towards change and  contributing to society while the other maintained that journalists should no be biased in any way; activism will mean they are taking sides.

Read related article: Journalists as activists  by Debbie Walter, Editor of the Journal
Source: GL Opinion and Commentary Service

Seychelles: To develop communication strategy around Domestic Violence National Strategy
Seychelles will hold a strategic communications training workshop to develop a public education campaign and a long term prevention strategy around the validated Domestic Violence National Strategy. The National Domestic Violence Strategy was validated by a wide range of stakeholders before being approved by cabinet at the end of 2007. 

Statistics obtained from several sources indicate a significant rise in the number of cases of domestic violence in Seychelles. In 2006 the Family Tribunal registered 172 cases of spousal violence, 95% of which were registered by women. In 2007 this grew to 226 cases, indicating a 31% increase in the number of cases being registered in one year. The number of cases of domestic violence reported to the police has more than doubled over the past six years. This prompted the development of the Domestic Violence Strategy.

In this regard, Strategic Objective 4 of the strategy commits stakeholders to developing public education campaigns and adopt a long term prevention strategy. This entails developing appropriate targeted messages for different sections of society targeting the individual, family, community and society at large including schools, public places, work places and so forth.

GEM Plus in Seychelles in collaboration with the Gender Secretariat in the Ministry of Health and Social Development and Gender Links will host the workshop from 11 – 13 June 2008.


Regional: SADC making progress in developing National Action Plans to End Gender Violence

Madagascar and Mozambique will soon be joining ten SADC countries that have developed National Action Plans to End Gender Violence in June and July respectively. This marks significant progress in regional efforts to eliminate all forms of gender violence and is in line with the SADC Addendum on the Prevention and Eradication of Violence against Women and Children which calls on states to adopt an integrated approach to dealing with the scourge.

The action plans are at different stages of implementation and need strengthening.  Strengthening can only happen if states allocate appropriate financial and human resources necessary to ensure that actions committed are carried through.

The draft SADC Gender and Development Protocol compels states to half current levels of GBV by 2015 and the action plans provide a tool for achieving this.  However more still needs to be done in terms of monitoring and evaluation to ensure that proress is being made towards achieving this goal.

Measuring gender based violence
As SADC advances in putting place interventions to end violence against women, measuring gender based violence remains a critical concern. This has proven difficult not only for the region but globally. Therefore there is a growing need for a standardisation tool that can be applied across communities and across countries capable of measuring gender based violence both to provide baseline data and for monitoring trends.

Many Southern African countries have shifted from campaign mode to a more integrated programmatic approach in dealing wih gender based violence by developing National Action Plans. In the draft SADC Gender and Development Protocol there is a commitment that SADC Governments will reduce current levels of gedner violence by 50% by 2015.  The questions remains. How will governments know whether the national action plans are making a difference in reducing GBV? How will SADC be able to gauge whether the 50% target has been achieved?
Gender Links has received support UNIFEM to develop indicators on gender violence that will form a framework for comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system for measuring impact of existing national action plans and form the basis for annual assessments of levels of GBV. GL will work with gender experts and other stakeholders from the region.

Angola: Family Minister, MPs Debate Gender Budgeting
Angola’s Family and Woman Promotion minister, Cândida Celeste, held a meeting on 21 May with the group of female Members of Parliament to analyse issues related to gender. According to the Cabinet minister, who was speaking to press at the end of the meeting, it meant to debate, among other issues, a budget favourable to gender.
"There are various problems that is why we assessed what we precisely need in order to get a budget favourable to women’s concerns ", she added. However, the chairperson of group of female parliamentarians, Cesaltina Major, the budget for gender aims to benefit specially women.
Read full article 

In the next few editions we will feature a series of best practices of the prevention of gender based violence.  These case studies were gathered during a mapping exercise of promising violence prevention models in South Africa. Gender Links was commissioned by the IDMT under the leadership of the NPA-SOCA Unit and UNICEF.
You are invited to submit case studies of ‘What is working in addressing gender based violence." Contributions should be sent to: Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah:

This month we feature examples of programmes which focus on women empowerment: IMAGE Study & the Sartjie Bartman Centre for Women and Children 

IMAGE Study:
Image is a five-year study involving 850 women and 4 000 young people from the rural Sekhukuneland district of South Africa’s Limpopo province. The project  is primarily concerned with preventing gender violence through empowering women, but it stretches beyond the individual to whole communities:  The project combines poverty-targeted micro-finance with a participatory learning and action curriculum (Sisters for Life) that together aim to strengthen individual client agency and to improve household well-being, communication and power relations. IMAGE emphasises the importance of the environment in which sexual behaviours, gender-based violence and HIV infections are occurring. Read more


South Africa

Roll out of gender action plans in local government
Gauteng, SA
North West, SA
Otjiwarongo, Namibia
Rundu, Namibia
 2 -4 June
16 – 18 June
30 June – 2 Jul
12 – 13 June
9 – 11 June
GBV National Action Plan workshops
11 – 13 June
16 – 18 June
23 – 25 June
Alerts workshop South Africa 4 June
Glass Ceiling workshop South Africa 4 – 5 June
We encourage your feedback, comments and information you would like us to include. Send an email to Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah on


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