At the coalface: gender and local government in Swaziland

Date: May 29, 2012
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This report is part of the second phase of the original study, “At the Coalface: Gender and Local Government” that covered four SADC countries (South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Mauritius). This phase aims to extend research on gender and local government to all SADC countries. This report demonstrates both the challenges and possibilities at the local level. The lesson from the first study is that no country in the region is likely to make the SADC targets without adopting special measures. The evidence gathered in this research shows that even in their small numbers women in Swaziland bring different perspectives and interests to local governance. They are concerned about every day issues – education, HIV and AIDS, housing, roads and transport and markets. They are also seen as hard working; accessible; close to the people and to local issues.But being a woman councillor comes with many challenges; the structures within which they operate are male dominated and still largely patriarchal; they lack resources, exposure and support and there are just not enough of them. Councillors and constituents interviewed for the research agreed that increasing the numbers of women councillors is a good goal to strive for.This research, which was conducted in Swaziland in 2008 involved 53 councillors in nineteen localities who gave their time for in depth interviews. There were also focus discussion groups and their voices and views form the heart of this book. “This Study is not just a challenge to Southern African countries to deliver on their promises to women. It is a challenge to all of us in the international community, not just to talk the walk of enhancing gender equality through decentralisation; but to begin walking the walk. This indeed is the call of history. There can be no turning back”.
Excerpt from Foreword of At the Coalface, Southern African Africa, by Winnie Byanyima

ISBN: 978-1-920550-03-5
Publisher: Gender Links
Year of Publication: 2009

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