Gender Justice Barometer: Issue 31

Gender Justice Barometer: Issue 31

Date: January 1, 1970
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Sixteen Days Special


DECEMBER 18 2008



*SADC gender protocol: Regional activism gains extra momentum
*Africa: Minister Tshabalala Msimang recognises SADC Gender Protocol at AU Gender Policy Meeting


*Africa: Memories of my life as a sex worker


*Madagascar: Operalisation of the Counselling and Legal Council Center now in in full force.



*South Africa: Taxis driving home message on gender violence
*Tanzania: World AIDS Day marked by launch of HIV and AIDS policies in newsrooms 

*Swaziland: All government departments urged to implement the 365 Days National Action Plan



* Global: 2008 Sixteen Days of Activism Campaign continues: Human Rights for women
* Regional: 9 Dec: Cyber dialogue on gender and xenophobia
* Africa: Celebrating 60 years of Human Rights
* Lesotho: Media awards recognise excellent coverage of Sixteen Days campaign 
* Regional: Campaigns against violence must recognise unique needs of women, children

Regional: Stretching 16 Days of Activism to 365 Days of Action


To mark the end of this year’s Sixteen Days campaign Gender Links with strategic partners launched a 365 day calendar for 2009. The calendar aims to stretch 16 Days of Activism to 365 Days of Action by using key national and international dates as opportunities to spread messages on ending gender based violence.
This communication tool which can reach private spaces such as homes serves to impress upon society that in order to make a SADC region free from gender based violence a possibility, it is necessary to take action every single day of year. The calendar marks the 16th of every month as a time to Stop! and Take Stock! on what we are doing to address gender based violence in our different spaces.
Many countries in the SADC region have developed multi-sector 365 Day National Action Plans or Strategies to end Gender Based Violence, helping them to move from campaign mode to a more holistic and integrated approach. However, what is now needed is the practical ground work to implement these plans into the core of our societal structures.
Click here to download the electronic calendar.
Click here to view Gender Links Sixteen Days activities

Regional: 9 Dec: Cyber dialogue on gender and xenophobia


Gender and xenophobia came under the spotlight during this year’s Sixteen Days campaign when Gender Links and Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSA), its country chapters, Government Communciation Information System (GCIS) and other partners held a cyber dialogue. While xenophobia is a common phenomena through out the world, it is the spate of violent attacks against non-nationals that took place in South Africa in May this year that sparked debates in the region.

"Foreigners should solve their problems in their countries" and "should go back to their country" was the common message coming from several of participants in the online chat. For example participants from South Africa were basically pointing to the fact that non-nationals are exploiting opportunities at the local’s expense including issues such as child grants, jobs among other things. A lot of assumptions were made in this chat that at times became emotional.

On the other hand a few did acknowledge the spirit of Ubuntu which is intrinsic in the African culture that recognises that we are one family and always available to help each other as neighbours when there is need.

Overall the discussion did point out to the need for massive civic education on tolerance, peace and conflict resolution as well as explore the gender implications  and role of the media in conflict situations. 

In the recent South African case for example, women migrants proved to be particularly vulnerable to attacks in the form of sexual assault and verbal abuse.  Media reports during this period failed to bring out the gender dimension to the crisis and incidences of gender violence especially sexual violence in the holding camps mostly went unreported or under reported. Local community leaders and civic groups have maintained that the official statistics on the extent of the Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the camps can never be accurate.

The results of the poll question were however unanimous and does not capture the nuances that came out the qualitative discussion:

Poll question: Should all non-nationals be made to leave the country?
a) Yes                        0%
b) No                         100%
View fact sheet 

Regional: 10 Dec: International Human Rights Day: 16 Days to 365

The South Africa Media Literacy Class of 2008 graduation which took place at Constitution Hill in the women’s gaol coincided with  International Human Rights Day which is commemorated across the globe on 10th December every year. A 2009 calendar that aims to stretch 16 Days of Activism to 365 Days of Action by using key national and international dates as opportunities to address gender based violence was launched at the event by councillor, Robert Pienaar from Ekurhuleni Municipality
The Media Literacy course was developed and is run by Gender Links in partnership with GEMSA country chapters and media experts.  It is based on the general principles of media literacy: that any citizen in today’s information era needs to know not just how to read, count and write but also how to interpret what they are told by the media. The toolkit draws from research and training material developed over a number of years on gender and the Southern African media.
Cyber dialogue
A regional was conducted that discussed women’s rights as human rights. It was recognised that women rights organisations have come a long
Poll question: Are women’s rights equal to human rights?
a) Yes                     78.13%
b) No                       21.88%
View fact sheet and more information about this day
Africa: Celebrating 60 years of Human Rights

By Karen Williams

This 10 December marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, it is more than a global birthday. The anniversary is a pertinent way to take stock of what the Declaration and the movement for human rights in general has meant for African women.
The year of its founding, 1948, is itself significant for human rights: that year saw the establishment of the apartheid state in South Africa, as well as the declaration of Israel as a country. The premise that every person is a human being is still a revolutionary and unfulfilled notion in many quarters of the world – through either poverty, dispossession, or the historically non-human status accorded to non-white people.
African women have the anomaly of being a majority population group in many countries, but with the status, dispossession and stigma of an oppressed minority. Accesses to resources play a key role in the self-empowerment that can guarantee women’s rights.
At the time of the Declaration’s founding the notion of a common humanity – and with presumed, unqualified rights – was unheard of. Now, on its 60th birthday, Africa has its first female president. Female deputy presidents are not unheard of and a significant number of women serve in top government posts (with Rwanda having the largest number of female parliamentarians in the world). Read full article
Source: Gender Opinion and Commentary Service

Lesotho: Media awards recognise excellent coverage of Sixteen Days campaign
MISA-Lesotho and GEMSA-Lesotho with support from Gender Links, recognised three journalists for their innovative and consistent coverage of the 2008 Sixteen Days Campaign at a time when media fatigue is apparent. Li
Libhalele Machona, a radio and television producer was awarded the best radio and television programme, a simultaneous cast. Also recognised were Dibuseng Nyaka, columnist for the Public Eye and Motheba Makana, a radio producer for consistent coverage of the Sixteen Days Campaign.
The media awards are meant to encourage media practitioners to continue finding fresh news and angles to the campaign as part of raising awareness on gender based violence. Media is an ally in preventing the twin pandemic of gender violence and HIV and AIDS as that is where society gets most of its information and messages.
Regional: Campaigns against violence must recognise unique needs of women, children
By Kubi Rama
With the annual Sixteen Days campaign now behind us with calls for 365 Days of Action over the year ahead, there is time for reflection about how to make the many good intentions expressed over the period into real change for women in 2009.
Over the past five years of my involvement in Sixteen Days, I increasingly feel a sense of frustration that in Southern Africa this international United Nations campaign of No Violence Against Women is re-casted as No Violence Against Women and Children.
First, let me place on record that as a mother of two I am wholeheartedly supportive of any campaign that engages with the high levels of violence against children. However, what is the rationale of merging women and children? In my view, this results in confusion and takes much needed focus away from two critical challenges: violence against women and violence against children. Women and children are two distinct groups who have very different needs when faced with abuse. Read full article
Source: Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service

SADC gender protocol: Regional activism gains extra momentum
By Rachel Kagoiya
Following the unveiling of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development in August 2008, Rachel Kagoiya reviews the new responsibilities for governments across the region to ensure women occupy 50 percent of all government positions by 2015. The author also discusses women’s prospects under the SADC Free Trade Agreement, and argues that moves towards the freer cross-border movement of goods must be implemented in a way that is of genuine benefit to the region’s majority female traders.
A tremendous achievement has been made by our sisters and brothers in southern Africa. The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development came into force in August 2008. Hailed by gender rights activists as a major breakthrough in protecting and promoting opportunities for women, both politically and economically, the long overdue gender protocol was signed at the SADC summit in South Africa. The protocol outlines 25 articles setting goals ranging from equal access to justice and education to constitutional protections for women’s rights. It will go a long way towards the protection of women in the region, who like many others around the continent bear the brunt of social injustice like the lack of access to clean water, poor healthcare, and access to economic opportunities or adequate protection before the law. Read full article
Source: Pambazuka news

Africa: Minister Tshabalala Msimang recognises SADC Gender Protocol at AU Gender Policy Meeting
At a meeting on the AU Gender Policy on 1 December, which concided with the Sixteen Days Campaign, the Minister in the Presidency Dr Tshabala-Msimang recognised the recent adoption of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development at the SADC Heads of State summit in August 2008 as a major achievement for the SADC region .

This legal instrument has consolidated all key commitments that the SADC member states have made to address gender equality and women empowerment, and eliminate discrimination through the development and implementation of gender-responsive legislation and programmes.

The [SADC] protocol aims to attain sustainable development by deepening regional integration, strengthening community-building and improving the lives of women in the SADC Region. We need to ensure that a plan of action is put in place to guarantee its implementation. We also need to reflect on the African Women’s Protocol. The full implementation of this protocol rests on how we articulate AU Gender Policy and its action plan.

Furthermore, the global call currently, is for a 50/50 quota in all political decision-making structures, and at implementation level. As the African continent and as SADC, we must vigorously drive this process. It is not just about numbers of women but it is a platform from which women can influence meaningful change, and make a difference to the lives of all women, empowering them towards gender equality. Read full speech


Africa: Memories of my life as a sex worker
By Daisy Nakato
I started working in a bar after a man in my village raped me and I became pregnant. , I was 17 and a virgin. He said if he was going to help me, I must marry him first, but I did not want to marry him. No one in my village supported me. Not even my mother or my sisters. So, when my daughter was 6 months old, I left her in the village to make money in Kampala. I began working in a bar, but they paid little, so at the same time I was also a sex worker.
One of the first men was someone who worked in the Ministry of Tourism. He was a big man, as big as my grandfather was. I served him often in the bar and he asked, “You are such a young girl, why are you not at school?” He said he would pay for my school fees, so I decided to go with him.
While I have been able to move out of sex work, I cannot escape the fact that I know that every single sex worker has very serious problems: they are underpaid, they are exploited, they can be beaten, they can be gang raped, their clients won’t use a condom.
They really need help. They are cast as women who don’t want to work, don’t want to marry, don’t want to have children. However, this is not true. Read full article


Madagascar: Operalisation of the Counselling and Legal Council Center now in in full force.
The “Counselling and Legal Council Center (C.E.C.J)” run by the Federation for the Promotion of Women and Children ( F.P.F.E ) is supported by the U.N.F.P.A and the Ministry for Health, the Family planning and Social Protection within the framework of the Gender and Development National Action Plan (P.A.NA.GE.D).
The operationilisation of C.E.C.J began in August 16, 2008, and four months later the Centre now recieves up to 40 visitors per day. It is now facing the constraints of space, financial and human resources to accomodate the high rate of new clients every day while servicing existing ones. 


The center work with local jurists and para jurists who provide legal aid to victims of gender based violence and recieve letters of complaints from women and men who are not happy with government or any other service provider for that matter who deal with gender based violence survivors.

They also provide counselling and assist with family reintegration to survivors. Currently, the Federation for the Promotion of Women and Children is in negotiation with  local telephone operators to set up a toll-free number for the Counselling and Legal Council Center (C.E.C.J). 


South Africa: Taxis driving home message on gender violence
By Deborah Walter
If you jump into a combi during the next couple of weeks, you may just be greeted with something a bit different from the usual fare of thumping Kwaito and house beats. Launched 4 December at Ekurhuleni Municipality, Tjoon’in is an audio CD designed specifically for playing in public transport as part of 16 Days of Activism, to raise awareness among taxi drivers and passengers about gender violence.
The CD is an entertaining mix of music, feature reports, interviews, testimonials from survivors of violence, and radio spots highlighting various 16 Days themes, particularly domestic violence, xenophobia, human trafficking, and men as partners. Produced partially during a series of workshops with transport stakeholders, Ekurhuleni councilors and survivors of violence, the CD features the energetic voices of YFM’s Dineo Lusenga and Hlayisanani “TC” Salani talking about everything from gun free zones to music and soccer, and how these all fit in with 16 Days of Peace.  
An innovative project by Gender Links (GL) in partnership with Ekurhuleni Municipality and the Gauteng Women in Transport, produced with assistance from CMFD Productions, the CD is being distributed free of charge to taxis and radio stations.  As part of the launch, Ekurhuleni Municipality will be hosting a panel discussion around gender violence in public transport. Read full article
Read more about the taxi CD

Tanzania: World AIDS Day marked by launch of HIV and AIDS policies in newsrooms 
1 December, World Aids Day was marked yesterday in Dar es Salaam with the launch of Media Action Plan (MAP) on HIV/AIDS and gender policies by nine media houses all with the aim of addressing challenges of the pandemic.


Speaking at the ceremony the chairman of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-TAN) Ayub Rioba, said MAP aimed at ensuring that 80 per cent of media houses in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) had HIV/AIDS and gender policies and programmes by end of this year.
Read more from the Guardian, 2/12/2008:
Swaziland: All government departments urged to implement the 365 Days National Action Plan

During Sixteen Days face to face discussions which precede cyber dialogues, activists and community women and men urged all government departments to make the 365 Days National Action Plan a reality in all sectors. Participants took time to take stock of what aspects of the action plan had been implemented. 
The Ministry of Education was singled out as one of the key ministries that can play a role in integrating ICTs in its curriculum and ensure that programmes such as cyber dialogues  are introduced in schools, an action committed to in the 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence. The Action Plan was launched during the 2007 Sixteen Days Campaign.
It was recognised that there is a need to increase the capacity of the Gender Unit in Ministry of Home Affairs which only has a staff complement of three people to carry out all government programmes.

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