Note from the editor

Note from the editor

Date: June 17, 2011
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Welcome to the 17th edition of Roadmap to Equality! tracking progress toward the ratification and implementation and of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

The most exciting gender achievement this month may very well be the legalisation of a 30% quota for women’s representation in Mauritius. After years of lobbying for greater representation in a country with just 6.4% women in local government, Mauritian lawmakers have agreed on a quota stating that at least 33% of candidates for local government elections (due later this year) must be women. While Mauritius has yet to sign the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, its leaders have made great strides to address many of its targets. For more on this story click here.

As SADC Heads of State (HOS) prepare to meet during the August Angola Summit, a series of consultative processes have already begun. The Namibia government’s gender ministry hosted a regional meeting of gender ministers in late May. A key outcome is agreement on a roadmap for the implementation of the SADC Gender Protocol that includes alignment of country policies and action plans to the targets of the Protocol and a meeting in September to agree on a framework for doing so. For the minister’s communiqué please click here.

Namibia, which has signed and ratified the Protocol, and is current chair of SADC, is leading the way with the development of a Gender Policy and Action Plan that is aligned to the targets of the SADC Gender Protocol and is now in the process of developing a costed Action Plan for implementation. The other SADC countries were challenged to follow this example.

Women’s economic empowerment remains high on the Alliance agenda, as initiatives like the SADC Women in Business Trade Fair and Investment Forum and SADC Women in Business Association Workshop continue to occur on an annual basis. The SADC gender minister’s received positive feedback on the success of the 2010 SADC Women in Business Trade Fair hosted by Namibia. Angola volunteered to host this year’s trade fair, with Zimbabwe volunteering to host in 2012.

Of concern, however, is the decreasing representation and participation of women in governance structures. Malawi, Mauritius and Zimbabwe are the only Member States with women Deputy Presidents. No Member States has a woman Prime Minister: Zimbabwe is the only Member State with a woman Deputy-Prime Minister. At the level of Speakers of Parliament or National Assembly, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania have women Speakers of Parliament or National Assembly. Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe have women Deputy Speakers of Parliament or the National Assembly. Yet the numbers continue to decrease at Cabinet, deputy ministerial, parliament and local government levels.

In the last issue of the newsletter we reported on the likelihood of a decrease of women’s representation in local government in South Africa following the May elections. Sadly, the final figures show a decline from 40% to 38% (view the commentary). This happened just as the Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana introduced the Gender Equality Bill in parliament calling for women’s equal representation in all areas of decision-making.

The governance cluster of the Alliance led by the Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU) in Zimbabwe is planning a major re launch of the 50/50 campaign in early August. The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, which coordinates the work of the Alliance in that country, has mounted a campaign for elections free of violence, in which women are able to participate freely and equally. For more information click here.

Alliance team efforts are currently targeted at the production of the 2011 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer report, which will highlight many of these issues. Reference group meetings in most countries have yielded many more examples of the SADC Gender Protocol at work. The Barometer will also feature much more in-depth analysis on the costing and implementation of the SADC Gender Protocol targets. For the first time, the 2011 Barometer will have a SADC Gender Protocol Index based on the in-depth data being collected in at least six sectors.

Alliance strengthening is ongoing and we are pleased to share that we recently held a teleconference of the Alliance Steering Committee and SADC Gender Protocol Barometer researchers. The minutes of the teleconference will soon be circulated. The Alliance is also busy strategising for effective participation at the 7th Civil Society Forum convened by the SADC Council of NGOs. The Alliance is preparing Position Papers on Gender Based Violence and the Implementation and Ratification of the SADC Gender Protocol.

In order to remain fresh and relevant to the issues in your country and our region WE NEED YOUR INPUT! To make contributions and comments or get information, please write to or

We request that all contributions be submitted by the 1st of each month. May I take this opportunity to thank all readers of the newsletter for their responsiveness during my tenure, while Loveness Jambya-Nyakujarah was on maternity leave. She is now back and resuming the post of manager of the alliance work. I am taking up the exciting new post of GL services manager, which includes the GL Cottages and GL advisory services. I look forward to remaining in touch with all of you. I can be reached on


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