Southern Africa: 2015 À“ yes we must!

Date: August 21, 2012
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Maputo, 8 August: With less than three years to go to the 2015 deadline for achieving key gender equality targets, Southern African countries need to gear up for change. This is the strong message in the key findings of the 2012 Southern Africa Gender Protocol Barometer released ahead of the Heads of State Summit in Maputo, Mozambique to be held from 16-17 August.

The Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance will today launch the key findings of the flagship monitoring report during the annual meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Council of NGOs, which is being held under the theme: “The SADC We Want.”

Overall, the Southern African Gender and Development Index (SGDI) based on empirical data for 23 indicators rose by just two percentage points from 64% in 2011 to 66% in 2012. Women and men in Southern Africa gave their governments a score of 57% – two percentage points up from last year – using the Citizen Score Card (CSC) that went out to 2329 citizens: 1272 women and 1068 men. Unlike the SGDI, the CSC is based on perceptions, and captures nuances that are not incorporated in the empirical data.

New features in the report include a costing analysis of how resources are being allocated, or should be allocated, to address the gender gaps in the different thematic sectors. Although the gender and climate change addendum has not yet been adopted, the fourth edition of the Barometer has a chapter on this theme as part of mounting a campaign to get an addendum to the Protocol on Gender and Climate Change.

Some green lights from the 2012 update are:
– Constitutional reviews have taken place or are about to take place in seven SADC countries. Activists in Zimbabwe and Zambia (that has coined the slogan “no women, no constitution”) have been especially active in demanding gender responsive constitutions, especially the removal of contradictory clauses that undermine women’s rights.
– In the last year Mauritius, a country with the lowest proportions of women in local government, adopted a legislated quota through Constitution (Amendment) Act 2011 and the Local Government Amendment Act of 2011. This resulted in a provision that at least 30% candidates for the local elections scheduled for 2012 be either women or men.

A few red lights:
– Contradictions between customary law and statutory law abound even where outlawed by the Constitution. In South Africa, the Traditional Courts Bill threatens some of the progressive provisions of the constitution as well as the Gender Equality Bill crafted in line with the SADC Gender Protocol.  
– Women’s political representation declined from 25% to 24% at the national level and 24% to 23% at the local level, with disappointing results at national and local level in Zambia, DRC and Lesotho.

To view the executive summary and excerpts from the Barometer in English and Portuguese, go to:

For more information call Eduardo Namburete on +258827404740 or Colleen Lowe Morna on +27826516995.


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