Transformation in the South African National Defence Force : with specific reference to gender equality

Date: February 27, 2014
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Transformation is an inevitable consequence of human resource practices and includes the political imperatives, behavioural transformation and the turnaround change. Gender equality is a critical component of the United Nations Resolution on Human Rights (Resolution 1325). Women are subjected to a variety of barriers that determine their organisational experiences, and therefore the achievement of gender equity requires the elimination of patriarchal practices, stereotypes and attitudes that perpetuate their marginalisation. Striving for gender equity within the armed forces should not reduce women to being passive victims of the transformation agenda as they operate both during conflict and peace-time. The representation and empowerment of women into decision-making structures and the protection of their rights can be spearheaded through the gender mainstreaming strategies. In the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) transformation placed greater emphasis on racial representivity to the neglect of gender equity. This situation has effectively contributed to the gender dialogue which aimed to assess the implementation of gender equity objectives. Furthermore, it is the guiding principle on the participation of women in the military to enhance gender representation and the attainment of self-actualisation and excelling in their areas of responsibilities. The purpose of the study was to explore the extent to which the SANDF supports gender transformation imperatives to ensure gender equity and it further investigated gender integration within the SANDF as a supportive theoretical analysis. The conceptual framework of gender transformation and gender mainstreaming in the military, and in particular within the SANDF, in the context of Employment Equity was conducted. To make an objective and informed assessment, the attitudes and perceptions of middle management and lower management of both the SANDF were measured. Data were collected from respondents through three sessions of facilitated focus group interviews and a semi-structured self-administered questionnaire. The sample was drawn from the Pretoria region. The findings of the study indicated that the DOD top leadership is supportive of gender transformation by the effective promulgation of transformation policies and the improvement in the representation of women in decision-making structures. The military environment is trying to create a conducive environment for women by providing resources, the essential training for women to maximise their potential, and furthermore by allowing their inclusion in all areas including deployment areas.

Publisher: University of Stellenbosch
Year of Publication: 2013
Download : 18074_monethi_transformation_2013.pdf

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