GJLG Summit newsletter

From the summit

Do you think your country will achieve the 50% target of women in local government by 2015? We caught up with seven summit participants and this is what they had to say (Note that this is the view of the participants and not those of the institutions that they are representing):

Namibians ‘stage’ mini roadblock in SA

Namibians ‘stage’ mini roadblock in SA

After a 22 hour drive from Namibia to South Africa, several members of the Namibian delegation who drove by car to the third annual Gender Justice and Local Government Summit got lost and caused a mini roadblock on a busy street in Johannesburg. “We tried to get help from a service station and they told us about a lot of turns, which got us more confused. Luckily, for us, the police happened to pass by and we stopped them. They led us all the way here (to the Koponang),” explained Councillor Fiina Elago from Reetmanshop Municipality

New Act set to increase women’s participation in local government

New Act set to increase women’s participation in local government

The National Assembly of Mauritius recently passed a new Local Government Act that aims to redress the low representation of women at local government level. A delegation of 19 Mauritians are attending the Third Gender Justice and Local Government Summit being hosted by Gender Links in Johannesburg, South Africa and they are not stopping at anything to tell other delegates about this recent development. Indeed, the Act has marked a revolutionary step in the history of Mauritius.

The new Act could not have come at a better time as the country is preparing to go to local government elections some time this year. Currently, the representation of women in local government in Mauritius is at 6.4% and only 19% in Parliament.

Laws are in place, but the system still fails women

Laws are in place, but the system still fails women

Despite the good policies and laws on the books in Southern African countries to eradicate Gender Based Violence (GBV), violence against women continues at alarming rates. Panellists and ministers speaking at the opening session of the third annual Gender Justice and Local Government summit in Johannesburg Monday (April 23), noted that women’s access to justice breaks down because often systems are not in place or, those working in the police and other sectors fail to administer the law in favour of women.

Women must move beyond the “kitchensÀ and “maternity wardsÀ

Women must move beyond the “kitchensÀ and “maternity wardsÀ

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development has created a regional platform for linking gender equality and women’s empowerment to national development, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Dr Ignatious Chombo, said Monday at the official opening of the third Local Government and Gender Justice Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Minister Chombo applauded leaders in Southern Africa for putting in place the legally binding instrument, which creates an even playing field for women, men, boys and girls; and, he affirmed Zimbabwe’s commitment to achieving the 28 targets of the Protocol adopted in 2008. Zimbabwe has signed and ratified the SADC Protocol.

Violence against women at “crisisÀ levels, South African minister says

Violence against women at “crisisÀ levels, South African minister says

The South African Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, Monday called for Southern African countries to develop a comprehensive, holistic and integrated approach to end gender-based violence (GBV). In her keynote address to the opening session of the third annual Gender Justice and Local Government Summit, Minister Xingwana, added that countries must continue to focus on the links between HIV and AIDS and GBV in strategies for prevention, response and support.

A Maurice, les élections municipales et villageoises Plus de chance pour la femme

A Maurice, les élections municipales et villageoises Plus de chance pour la femme

Les prochaines élections municipales et villageoises Á  Maurice s’annoncent plutôt optimistes ; surtout aux yeux de tous ceux militant pour l’égalité des genres. Pour raison : la New Local Government Act de 2011(la nouvelle loi régissant les collectivités locales, et proclamée le 15 décembre 2012) donne droit Á  plus de participation féminine lors des élections au sein des municipalités et des conseils villageois. A noter que la Constitution a dÁ» être modifiée dans ce sens. En effet, la section 11 de ladite loi, sur l’élection des conseillers municipaux, stipule que tout group présentant plus de deux candidats dans un arrondissement électoral doit s’assurer Á  ce que tous ses candidats ne soient pas du même sexe. La section 12 indique, pour sa part, que tout group présentant plus de deux candidats Á  une élection de conseillers villageois doit s’assurer Á  ce que deux-tiers de ses candidats ne soient pas du même sexe. Ce qui implique, dans les deux cas, que les femmes ont légalement plus de chance Á  être candidate aux élections des collectivités locales.

Low representation of women in councils may affect service delivery

Low representation of women in councils may affect service delivery

Although the representation of women in Parliament and local government fell far below the SADC Gender Protocol target of 50/50 in Zambia’s last general elections, the country’s local government association and civil society continue to put gender equality and women’s empowerment at the centre of the local councils’ agenda. Women won only 5.9% of the councillors’ seats in the September 2011 elections, a 1% decrease from the previous election in 2006. However, Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) Executive Secretary, Morris Mbolela, said in an interview that although women’s representation is low, there is hope in the initiatives of civil society organisations in collaboration with government to mainstream gender in local councils.

Editorial 23 April – Test

This is the test editorial for the summit newsletter for 22 April.

Approximately 280 participants from ten Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries will converge in Johannesburg (Kopanong Hotel), South Africa from 23-25 April 2012 for the third Annual Gender Justice and Local Government Summit.

About the Media Action Plan on HIV & AIDS and Gender

The MAP on HIV/AIDS and Gender is a collaborative effort by the Southern African Editors Forum (SAEF) and NGO partners to improve coverage of HIV/AIDS and gender, as well as mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the media industry.