South Africa: Push for 5050 legislated quotas

South Africa: Push for 5050 legislated quotas

Date: March 11, 2012
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The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) and the National Democratic Institute will on 8 March International Women’s Day, hold a round-table discussion to strategise on how to push forward the campaign for 5050 legislated quotas in the constitution and electoral laws. The initiative aims to guard the gains made in increasing women’s representation in political decision-making positions in South Africa.

South Africa is one of 13 SADC countries that have signed and nine that have ratified the SADC Gender Protocol a binding instrument that calls on States to put in place measures to increase women’s representation in decision-making positions in all SADC countries by 2015. A key target is achieving gender parity in all areas of decision making by 2015.

The campaign recently received renewed interest, with Advocate Pansy Tlakula of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) speaking out on the need for a legislated quota system to achieve parity in women’s representation and participation in political decision-making positions. The Women’s Ministry, in its green paper discussions framing the development of a Gender Equality Bill, has also identified the issue. The Deputy Minister has made an undertaking that this will be tabled by March 2013 in a televised interview on 4 March 2012.

Within the context of renewed interest and focus on the issue of 5050 in South Africa and the region, and the disappointing 2011 local government election results as galvanizing evidence of the need for intervention, participants will discuss women’s representation in local government, national and provincial structures and make a comparative analysis over the year.

The CGE will table research findings on current legislative provisions and the most appropriate vehicle for legislative reform on 5050, whether to push for inclusion in the Gender Equality Bill, or seek reform of electoral legislation.

Key stakeholders in this sector will draw insights from the 5050 campaign in South Africa and bring their regional and international experience to bear. Gender Links will represent the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance in making a case for why South Africa should join other countries such as Namibia in calling for amendment to the electoral laws to include 5050 legislated quotas in the context of the Southern Africa Gender Protocol.

The intention of the round-table is to create space for deliberation on empirical data, insights and recommendations. The envisaged outcome of this round-table would be to develop a clear position on what legislative process should be embarked upon in South Africa to embed 50/50 in the system.

Compiled by Lucia Makamure with information from the Commission of Gender Equality

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