Editorial Note

Editorial Note

Date: April 13, 2012
  • SHARE:

Welcome to the 25th edition of the Roadmap to Equality! Tracking progress towards the implementation and ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

As March – International Women’s Month – ends, there is cause for celebration and concern.

SADC witnessed the swearing in of the first female president, Joyce Banda in Malawi after the death of President Binguwa Mutharika. She is the second female president in Africa after Liberian president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

In an interview with an Aljazeera news anchor, the newly sworn-in Republic of Malawi President, Joyce Banda said “my election (in 2009) as the vice president and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (Liberian president) shows that Africans have grown in democracy [and] they have confidence in both women and men in leading them. Africans have decided that the time is now that women can also participate in leadership.”

The 56th Commission on the Status of Women under the theme Empowering rural women extended its work by one week after it failed to reach a consensus on conclusions for the priority theme. At the closing of the session, the Commission Chair Marjon V. Kamara( Liberia) said: “I will not hide my great disappointment that we have found ourselves in this position. If we really want to tell the truth about it, I am not sure that we all came with a spirit of compromise.” A chair’s summary reflecting outcomes will be made available. Who will stand to benefit from the stalemate? Certainly not rural women!

The Botswana Gender Based Violence Indicators Study launched soon after the just ended SADC Conference on gender violence convened by the SADC Gender Unit in Johannesburg from 21 – 23 March are a reminder that we are far from reaching the SADC Gender Protocol target of reducing by half current levels of gender violence.

The study launched by Botswana’s Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Honourable Minister Edwin Jenamiso Batshu on 29 March shows that over two thirds of women in Botswana (67%) have experienced violence in their lifetime including partner and non-partner violence. A smaller, but still high, proportion of men (44%) admit to perpetrating violence against women. In 2011 alone, 29% of women experienced violence perpetrated by men and 22% of men admitted to perpetrating GBV. Click here to read press release and click here to read executive summary of the findings.

The study comes at a time that activists in Botswana are calling on government to sign the SADC Gender Protocol. Botswana along with Mauritius are the two remaining countries to sign the Protocol. Mauritius gender activists are equally applying pressure on government to put pen to paper as witnessed at the just ended first ever country Local Government and Gender Justice Summit held from 6-7 March 2012.   Click here for Botswana strategy.

Mauritius, Botswana, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe have held Gender Justice and Local Government Summits in preparation for a regional summit that will take place from 23 – 25 April in Johannesburg. Namibia will host a summit from 11-12 April. Click here to read more.

Preparations for the production of the 2012 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer have begun in earnest as the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance holds reference group meetings across the region. So far eight meetings have been held which have created a platform to strengthen country networks, review and validate country barometers and canvass the petition campaign on the Addendum to the SADC Gender Protocol on gender and climate change. Participants join other citizens in filling out a citizen score card to gauge citizen perceptions of their country’s progress towards meeting the SADC Gender Protocol targets.

In countries that have not signed such as Botswana and Mauritius the process is being used to intensify pressure on governments on the need to sign. It is also an opportunity to call on all countries that have not ratified to do so and those that have ratified but not deposited their instruments of ratification such as DRC and South Africa to do so.

Till next time!



Comment on Editorial Note

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *