Editor’s note

Editor’s note

Date: March 12, 2012
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Welcome to the 24th edition of the Roadmap to Equality! – tracking progress towards the implementation and ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

It is not just SADC but the world over that is abuzz with activities as NGOs, government, development partners and lately the corporate sector commemorate International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Globally participants at the Commission on the Status of Women currently in progresswill be attending an event at the United Nations Headquarters with the participation of Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and a video message by UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet on 8 March.

In her International Women’s Day message released on 5 March, she contends “The time is now” a mantra shared by the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance whose motto is Gender equality in SADC: The time is now!

Bacheletadded, “Every human being has the right to live in peace and dignity. Every human being has the right to shape their future and the futures of their countries. That is the call for equality that I hear wherever I go. For this reason UN Women will place special focus this year on advancing women’s economic empowerment and political participation and leadership.”

Ban Ki Moon said that in spite of progress in some areas “… there is a long way to go before women and girls can be said to enjoy the fundamental rights, freedom and dignity that are their birthright and that will guarantee their well-being. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world’s rural areas. Rural women and girls – to whom this year’s International Women’s Day is devoted – make up one quarter of the global population, yet routinely feature at the bottom of every economic, social and political indicator, from income and education to health to participation in decision-making”.

In Africa, the UNiTE campaign has brought many activists from across sectors and across the globe to call for a stop to violence against women. At Marangu Gate Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, president of the Republic of Tanzania, flagged-off the climbers who are expected to reach the summit on March 8, International Women’s Day. As he sent them off, President Kikwete told the climbers, “I want you to Climb Up and Shout out at the top of your voices when you reach the summit. Let the echo of your voices reverberate back to us so that we hear you from the heights above. Indeed, silence can no longer be tolerated.”

In the SADC region there are equally many activities coming up that either celebrate achievements towards achieving gender equality or are a call to action. The South Africa Commission on Gender Equality will hold a round table discussion to debate 5050 legislated quotas and come up with a strategy to push the campaign forward.

All United Nations agencies coordinated by UNAIDS will engage around the Gender Links findings in the Gauteng GBV Indicators project in Pretoria.

Gender Links will in the week that coincides with International Women’s Day, kick off a series of in-country-Local Government and Gender Justice Summit on 7 – 9 March 2012. The summits are practical illustration of the Southern African Protocol on Gender and Development at work in the lives of ordinary women and men in the SADC region at the local level. Commenting on the country mini-summits that will culminate in a regional summit, from 23 – 25 April 2012 in Johannesburg.

According to Gender Links Chief Executive Officer Colleen Lowe Morna “We have gone to great lengths this year to broaden participation and ownership by starting with country summits in some countries, leading up to the regional summit. We are hoping for a bumper number of entries and robust participation.”

A call has been put out for entries for awards into the regional summit scheduled to take place from 23 – 25 April 2012. Click here to read more and access the call.

The Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance country focal networks will work with the regional secretariat provided by Gender Links to hold reference group meetings to review 2012 editions of the SADC Gender Protocol country barometers. Citizens will between March and April score their respective governments to gauge country progress in implementing the 28 targets for achieving gender equality as laid out in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

Activism remains alive as the call for States to meet the 2015 target for achieving gender parity in key decision-making positions. The Alliance Networks will join fellow activists in South Africa and Namibia in lobbying for the legislated quotas on IWD.

Till next time!


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