Editorial Note

Editorial Note

Date: November 26, 2012
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Welcome to the 28th edition of the Roadmap to Equality! Tracking progress towards the implementation and ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

On the dawn of the 16 Days campaign, a key question for all involved in prevention campaigns is whether these are making a difference. The GBV indicators research Botswana, Mauritius and four provinces of South Africa found that less than half of the women and men in all the sites except Gauteng knew of the Sixteen Days of Activism Campaign. Click here to read more about the indicators research.

In South Africa, one of the topline findings of the GBV indicators research carried out in Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape provinces by Gender Links (GL) between 2010 and 2012 shows that patriarchal norms and attitudes including those that excuse or legitimate the use of violence are driving the alarming rates of gender based violence (GBV) in South Africa.

Seventy seven percent of   women in Limpopo, 51% of women in Gauteng, 45% of women in Western Cape and 36% of women in KwaZulu Natal have experienced some form of violence (emotional, economic, physical or sexual) in their lifetime both within and outside intimate relationships. Click here to read more about The War @ Home: Findings of the GBV prevalence study in South Africa

Every year gender activists from across the globe intensify efforts to raise awareness on gender-based violence for 16 days from the 25 November, International Day for the Eradication of Violence against Women, to the 10 December, International Human Rights Day.

The Sixteen Days of Activism 2012 Campaign is happening under the global theme: From peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women!

Southern African partners will commemorate the 16 Days campaign under the banner Peace begins at home. There are emerging partnerships linking local government councils, media practitioners, media institutions, gender and media networks, gender NGOs and in some cases national government officials through activities lined up during the campaign period. Click here to view activities at regional and country level.

On the 10th of December, development partners and NGOs will hold a cyber-dialogue on the post-2015 development agenda to discuss key priorities that should succeed the current Millennium Development Goals set for 2015. Click here to read about cyber dialogues.

There is rising anxiety as the clock clicks louder in the count down to 2015 the deadline for meeting the 28 targets of the SADC Gender Protocol. For every step forward, activists counted one-step backwards in the collection of data from the fifteen countries that informed the 2012 Southern Africa Gender Protocol Barometer. Click here for the 2012 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer.

A few high profile changes in female leadership do little to detract from the underlying patriarchal attitudes, reflected in the shockingly high levels of gender violence revealed by recent prevalence surveys; gender stereotypes in schools; the work place and the media; as well as predominantly male decision-making structures in all areas. Customary law contracts constitutional provisions with few ramifications in many countries.

The Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance launched the key findings at the 8th Civil Society Forum convened by the SADC Council of NGOs (SADC CNGO) held in Maputo ahead of the SADC Heads of State Summit where over 130 participants from across all sectors of civil society in the sub-region. Click here to read excerpts of the Barometer in Portuguese

The Alliance made several demands to the SADC Heads of State on behalf of the gender sector in the plenary as part of hearings from civil society on The SADC We Want. Most of these came out in the final communique issued to the Heads of State when they eventually met. Click here to read the full communique.

The Alliance held an annual steering committee meeting on the back of the Civil Society meeting in Johannesburg from 14 À“ 15 August to reflect on the year gone by and strategise for the future. Apart from the SWOT analysis, a key outcome of the meeting is an endorsement to hold a SADC Gender Protocol Summit in April 2013 that aims to come up with strategies to accelerate implementation of the SADC Gender Protocol in the count- down to 2015 as well as begin thinking around a post-2015 agenda in line with key developments in the region.

The last few months have also been a hive of activities for the Alliance at country level as the Network seeks to strengthen institutional mechanisms. There are country launches of the country SADC Gender Protocol Barometers taking place with three already done in Malawi, Mauritius and Zambia. Seven other launches are lined up as part of the Sixteen Days of Activism celebrations. Click here for calendar of events integrated in the Sixteen Days Calendar.

As highlighted in the 2012 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer, countries in the region are moving backwards in terms of women in decision-making positions.

Despite renewed efforts by civil society to push up the numbers of women in SADC parliaments women representation in Angola has gone down. This follows the announcement of results from the August 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections where women’s representation went down from 39 % in 2008 to 34.5 %.

Swaziland went to the polls on 3 November 2012 to vote for councillors in urban local government authorities. The results show a mere 10 women (14%) compared to 59 men (86%).

As the Democratic Alliance (DA) the main opposition party in South Africa will be holding the Federal Congress from the 23rd to the 25th November 2012; the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) will be watching closely regarding the placing of women in key decision making positions.

While acknowledging that the DA Federal Congress is an internal party matter, the Commission nonetheless strongly urges the national leadership of the DA to take gender equality and balanced gender representation as one of the key guiding principles when selecting leaders to represent them in the party’s Federal Executive.

On a brighter note, Swaziland and Zambia are pushing forward towards achieving the 28 targets of the SADC Gender Protocol with both countries having recently ratified the SADC Gender Protocol in September and October respectively. This coincided with the period that the two countries have been developing costed gender action plans aligned to the SADC Gender Protocol. Click here to read more about costing the implementation of the SADC Gender Protocol

Till next time!

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