Journal Article

Disability, gender, and employment relationships in Africa: The case of Ghana

The exploratory quantitative study sought to develop an understanding about the relationships among disability, gender and employment in Northern Ghana. A total of 110 individuals with disabilities (20À“60 years) from various disability groups participated in the study. The results indicate that many persons with disabilities are unemployed, the majority being women. Discrimination is cited as the greatest barrier to the employment of persons with disabilities, particularly women. The majority of persons with disabilities, typically women, live in poverty; given that some are unemployed and those who are employed worked mostly in marginal, seasonal and menial jobs. Persons with disabilities also experience several challenges on the job, including negative perceptions about their capabilities, discrimination and exclusion, irrespective of the employment sector and disability type. Educational interventions such as workshops, documenting and showcasing success stories of persons with disabilities could be helpful to reduce negative perceptions about their capabilities as well as discrimination against them. Government intervention to support persons with disabilities with start-up capital and funding for formal education is also recommended as these two elements were identified respectively as barriers to self-employment and employment in the public/private sectors. Government interventions to create educational opportunities for persons with disabilities are essential given that lower educational attainment affect their employment.

We face rape. We face all things: Understandings of gender-based violence amongst female students at a South African university

This study explores how female residence students at a South African university understand
and experience gender-based violence. This article examines how women’s identities and social
interactions are affected by the presence of gender-based violence in their communities, and
specifically the issue of violence in higher education institutions. Social constructionist theory
framed this study as it focuses on how these women’s ‘talk’ constructed their understanding
of gender-based violence. Unstructured interviews were conducted with 12 female residence
students and discourse analysis was used to analyse the interview material. Findings revealed
that the fear of becoming a victim of gender-based violence serves to constrict the daily activities
of these women. This research maps these ongoing discourses of fear which are present in
all aspects of women’s lives. It provides a formal articulation of women’s experiences that are
significant but frequently marginalised and normalised, showing the pervasive effects of fear of
gender-based violence on identity and social life. The study contributes towards a growing body
of knowledge surrounding the impact of gender-based violence at higher education institutions
and works towards protecting students.

Can the Powerless Speak? Linguistic and Multimodal Corporate Media Manipulation in Digital Environments: the Case of Malala Yousafzai

Paraphrasing Spivak’s essay, “Can the subaltern speak?À (1988),
this paper will discuss how blogs can be manipulated by corporate
media at both a linguistic and multimodal level, analysing Malala
Yousafzai’s 2009 blog. Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014
and is known for her activism in women’s rights, but critics have
questioned the authenticity of her voice, maintaining that her lan-
guage is not likely to be produced by a child. Th is paper will address
the question as to whether her blog has been manipulated, analysing
linguistic features – such as lexical density, readability, keyness, mo-
dality markers in English, and multimodal resources. Linguistic and
visual data will be discussed to see how multimodal approaches to
communication can disentangle corporate mass media manipulation

Building capacity inside your organisation for gender equality – practical skills and approaches

There is increasing recognition about the need to build capacity inside development organisations for the purpose of delivering gender equitable policy, programmes and projects. Applications for UK AID DIRECT for example, have to show evidence of gender considerations at each stage of the project cycle AND evidence of organisational gender capacity.
” …in order to implement a project effectively it is also important for UK AID Direct grant holder and their implementing partners to understand gender at an organisational level. Indeed, it is not appropriate to ask projects to mainstream gender if the principles are not understood and practiced within the implementing organisations. An organisational understanding is therefore vital if gender is to be truly “mainstreamedÀ, with good practices promoted and efforts toward gender equality sustainedÀ

Gender update: Gender and sustainable development

Can there be sustainable development without gender equality? Too often sustainable development is still seen primarily as environmental sustainability. This narrow approach oversees some complex social, economic and ecological dimensions without adequately acknowledging gender concerns.

Violence against women in South Africa

South Africa is currently experiencing a huge burden of
morbidity and mortality arising from violence and injury.
In 2000, violence and unintentional injuries combined
were the second leading cause of all death and disability
adjusted life years (DALY).1 The first cause being Human
Immunodeficiency Viral (HIV) diseases.1 Interpersonal
violence is the leading risk factor after unsafe sex and for
loss of DALYs.1 According to the crime statistics report of
South Africa during the 2011/12 financial year there were
777 104 serious crimes arrests and 806 298 in 2012/13.2
There were 197 877 crimes reported against women in
2009/10 in comparison to 175 880 in 2012/13, a reduction
of 11.1%.2 However, the reviews of evidence for gender
based violence has reported that no reduction occurred in
the past decade.3 There are no reliable national data for
the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV), but the
best population based estimates from 1998 identifies a
lifetime prevalence of physical violence of 25%

Development as a right in Africa : changing attitude for the realisation of women’s substantive citizenship

Development has been a right in Africa since African leaders made the commitment thereto at the adoption of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in 1981. Yet, in Africa, the majority of women cannot exercise citizenship rights because of the manner in which their society view them and, sometimes, even because of the way women view themselves. Development in critical aspects of the lives of the people is regarded as one of the envisaged products of constitutional democratic institutions. Women are at most times relegated to the status of “second class citizens” who only operate within the private spheres. While regional human rights instruments have made remarkable gains in ensuring that women within the region are protected, there is, however, a disconnect between the rights enshrined in the instruments and the daily reality of the majority of women. The majority of African countries are still far from creating an egalitarian society where men and women have equal opportunity and access to benefits. In this article, the authors argue that the conduct of governments in protecting the substantive rights of the majority of women in Africa is in total violation of domestic, regional and international law. Nigeria, for example, is committed to the protection of the human rights of all its citizens. However, citizenship rights in Nigeria do not seek to promote and protect the substantive rights of the majority of women. The implication is the complete erosion of dignity and fundamental rights. In other words, the majority of women lose the essence of the inherent membership of their society.

Gender equality in African customary law: has the male ultimogeniture rule any future in Botswana?

The actual and perceived conflicts between customary law and human rights
law, especially in issues dealing with gender equality, have remained a major
challenge in Africa. Some of these conflicts are further complicated by the
varying and contradictory interpretation of some customary laws by the courts.
Different approaches have been adopted at different times and in different
places to deal with some of these conflicts. One of the most controversial areas
of customary law has been the traditional exclusion of women from property
inheritance. This paper takes a critical look at how the courts in Botswana have
dealt with the issue of the right to inherit the homestead or family home.
It examines this issue in the specific context of the recent case of Ramantele v
Mmusi in which the Court of Appeal had to consider the customary law rule
of male ultimogeniture À“ which permits only the last-born son to inherit
the homestead intestate to the exclusion of other siblings, especially females.
It argues that courts need to be more proactive and progressive in their
approach to dealing with such issues than they have been in the past in order to
recognise the nature and extent of changes that are taking place today. The
main lesson that can be drawn from the Botswana case is that if customary law
is to survive and develop, more needs to be done to promote research and
scholarship in this area and judges also need to take advantage of this research
and deal with these customary law disputes with knowledge, understanding
and sensitivity.

United Nation’s Resolution on Elimination of Female Genital Ritual: A Legitimate Response to a Human Rights Problem or What?

A recent United Nations’ (U.N.) Resolution, “Intensifying Global Efforts for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilations,Àurging all countries to enact legislation outlawing female circumcisionor female genital ritual (FGR) signals a disturbingly new frontier inthe polemic surrounding the ancient cultural practice. Never before has the apex global institution lent its imprimatur to a project whose foundation is profoundly muddled in uncertainties and murkiness. That the Resolution received an instantaneous and near-universal acclaim as a necessary protective weapon against supposed assault on the human rights of women is not news. After all, aside from essentially validating extant legislative frameworks in several countries, the proclamation fits seamlessly with decades-long agitations of activists,scholars and media pundits of one stripe or the other. What is absurd À“indeed, the real news À“ is continued neglect of calls for a rethinking of the criminalization fervour currently gripping the world, for a reassessment of the evidence trumpeted by abolitionists as justifcatory of their unbridled interference in what practicing communities revere as a sacred cultural rite. Relying on the premise that claims regarding harmful impact of FGR, the fulcrum upon which eradication forces depend for their activism, cannot be substantiated, this paper argues that prohibitory regimes based thereon, whether at the U.N. or country level, is per se a violation of the human rights of the women purportedly sought to be protected. Human rights (including, in this case, its self-appointed “apostlesÀ), cannot, as a popular Igbo maxim admonishes, become “outsiders who wept louder than the bereaved. ÀThis is the prism from which this paper analyzes the on-going supranational crusade to suppress FGR.

The Politics of Women’s Health in South Africa

There are several interrelated crises in women’s health in contemporary South Africa. Since the 1990s, HIV/AIDS has been considered foremost among these and it has posed a demographic, health, social and cultural catastrophe for South African women. HIV has become the leading cause of maternal mortality in South Africa, according to the government’s own statistics (Ramogale et al, 2007). Women’s social and health statuses are also being blighted by the high rates of intimate partner violence and sexual assault in the country. A recent global perception poll of the ‘best and worst’ group of 20 countries for women canvassed the views of 370 gender experts from five continents (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 2012b). South Africa was ranked 16th out of the group of 20 countries, right above Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and India, because it has ”Some of the highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence in the world, a blight on a country where women are well represented in politics” (Thomson Reuter Foundation, 2012b). This concern has been echoed by Interpol which recently dubbed South Africa ‘the world’s rape capital’, where a woman is sexually assaulted every 17 seconds (SABC, ‘South Africa world’s rape capital: Interpol’, 19 May 2012). In this Agenda special issue we have gathered pieces from an emerging literature on issues related to the politics of women’s health in post-Mbeki-era South Africa. In our call for papers, we indicated our desire to provide a forum to deepen and widen scholarly and activist conversations on women’s health issues in this country: we wanted to find papers which would provide fresh analyses in relation to well documented issues such as maternal mortality and domestic violence and also bring to the fore new work on under-examined issues such as cervical cancer and coercive sterilisation, especially