European Union Co-Funded Project 2020 – 2024: Advancing Gender Equality in the Republic of Mauritius 

Date: October 25, 2021
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The overall objective of this project is to address and lobby against gender inequalities in the private and public spheres in the Republic of Mauritius (Mauritius and Rodrigues) by:

(1) Increasing the active participation of women and youth through gender responsive governance;

(2) Educating, raising awareness and sensitising the population through campaigns and by working with the media to ensure gender equality; and to shift cultural and gender norms that oppress women in society.

In so doing, the project will strengthen actions aimed at highlighting the principles of non-discrimination on any ground, gender mainstreaming, participation, empowerment, accountability openness and transparency through a strategic and integrated approach as well as women and youth political participation.

The REZONE campaign was launched on 3rd September 2021 at Voila Bagatelle, Mauritius with the participation of officials from the European Union Delegation in Mauritius, members 11 political parties, members of Parliament, Ambassadors, partners from the press and NGOs.

A 50 50 symposium with 6 political parties as part of the panel was thereafter organised on 13th April 2022.

Training with members of political parties to reinforce participation of women and youth in politics

On 8th November 2021, Gender Links Mauritius started a two-day training on Women and Youth in Politics with members of different political parties at Voila Hotel, Bagatelle. The 2011 amendment to the Local Government Act which provides for a gender-neutral quota has positively enhanced participation and representation of women at the local government level, increasing from a 9% to 26% in the 2012 election.  

At the national level more women are needed in the legislature in order to work and push for the emergence and consolidation of a gender inclusive developmental state. The current percentage of women in parliament is 20%.  The proportion of women in parliament, after dropping to 12% in the 2014 elections, increased to 20% in 2019 and the proportion of women in cabinet slightly increased by one percentage point from 12% to 13%. Only three women out of a total of 24 were appointed as Ministers in the 2019 elections. The demand for more women parliamentarians is not a mere numbers issue but a call for transformational politics, that is, for equity, for social justice and for the betterment of human condition.  There is an urgent need for a national electoral reform to substantially increase women’s participation in politics at the national level.  This EU Funded project will deepen engagement with aspiring women politicians and political parties, which will contribute to sustainability of the training for women and youth in the Republic of Mauritius.  

In this regard, the training sessions with women and youth, favourably those who will stand for the upcoming local Municipal elections, were of paramount importance. The training sessions aimed to: 

(1) Allow individuals who have been elected or ran as candidates to share their experiences. These prove to be inspiring for aspiring women and youth.
(2) Equip aspiring women and youth with essential communication skills and strategies to pave their way into politics.
(3) Provide key and basic information for aspiring candidates into politics, for example, the election processes
(4) Create a platform for political parties to discuss about recommendations and bring about change within their political parties and beyond.

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