Gender and the economy in SADC

Date: July 22, 2012
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– The proportion of women in economic decision-making has increased by 6% from 18% in 2009 to 24% in 2011. There is only one woman finance minister (in Namibia) in the SADC region but women hold several influential positions.
– The Gender Protocol is being used to conduct an analysis of South Africa’s new economic policy – the New Growth Path. Business Women in South Africa continues to use the gender protocol to benchmark progress in achieving gender parity in the private sector.
– Time use studies have only been conducted in four out of the 15 SADC countries. These are necessary to calculate the contribution of women’s non-wage labour to national GDP.
– Several SADC countries are involved in Gender Budget Initiatives (GBI) and there is a regional network led by the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Network and Centre (ZWRCN). In Tanzania this initiative is now bearing tangible results.
– Trade policies are mostly gender blind. Only a few procurement policies make specific reference to women. Women continue to predominate in the informal sector. They constitute the majority of the unemployed in all SADC countries.
– Women still struggle to access credit although most SADC countries now have programmes of one kind or the other to assist women in accessing credit. Mauritius has an especially strong programme for empowering women, articulated in its 2011 budget.
– Figures on land ownership are patchy, but range from 11% to 46% (in Botswana). A gender analysis of agriculture projects in Botswana shows that women constitute the majority of beneficiaries.
– Zambia has broken new ground with a land policy that requires that 30% of all land be allocated to women.
– All SADC countries have maternity leave but only 40% have paternity leave.
– The Gender Protocol offers an entry point for SADC member states to begin addressing climate change and its effects on women more robustly. Momentum is mounting for an addendum to the Protocol on Gender and Climate Change.

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