Seychelles: Develops a roadmap to gender equality aligned to the SADC Gender Protocol

Seychelles: Develops a roadmap to gender equality aligned to the SADC Gender Protocol

Date: February 6, 2012
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Seychelles is set to become the first SADC country to develop a national gender policy and costed gender action plan that is aligned to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Gender focal points from government departments, civil society representatives and development partners attended a gender mainstreaming workshop that also saw the technical validation of the first ever National Gender Policy and the development of the first draft of the Costed National Gender Action Plan from 20 – 26 January 2012 in Victoria, Mahe.

Linda Williams, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development and Culture who gives oversight to the Gender Secretariat reiterated the country’s commitment to achieving the targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development set for 2015.

“As a signatory party to the SADC Gender and Development Protocol, Seychelles has the obligation to endeavour to achieve the 50/50 target of women in decision making levels by 2015. We have already made great strides in achieving gender parity in the national assembly

After the last parliamentary elections women’s representation increased from 23% to 45%; and we now have 15 women MNA out of 33 seats. It is important however that we continue to move forward to achieve the full 50% target and ensure that this great stride does not become an anomaly in our history, but becomes a trend towards further gains in good governance and gender equality”.

Williams who attended the validation meeting, parts of the gender mainstreaming training and action-planning workshop expressed hope that those who attended would become gender champions and bring change within their respective government department, ministry or organisation

“The national gender policy and plan of action will act as a road map to guide us on how we are to get to where we want to be. Without a detailed and accurate map we cannot hope to strike a true path towards our final destination. It is our hope that this framework, which we have developed together, is well understood and owned by all partners. Ownership is fundamental and the key to successful implementation of any policy or plan” she emphasised.

Seychelles has scored many firsts. According to the 2011 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer produced by the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance, the country comes out number one out of the 15 SADC countries in terms of progress towards achieving the 28 targets in the Gender Protocol.

The Southern Africa Gender and Development Index (SGDI) based on empirical data on 23 indicators in six sectors introduced in the Barometer in 2011 places the country at 79% of where it needs to be by 2015: the target date for meeting the 28 targets of the Protocol. The six sectors are governance, education, economy, media, sexual and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS.

By the end of the workshop a first draft of the national gender action plan had been produced a technical validation of the national gender policy which has been in the making since November 2011. The next steps involve bringing the national gender policy before the forum for permanent secretaries from all government departments before taking it to cabinet for approval. The aim is to launch the policy in April. In the meanwhile costing of the gender action plan will be completed at a next consultative workshop scheduled for end of March in 2012.


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