Red lights flash in SADC Gender Protocol 2011 Barometer that introduces an index for ranking countries

Date: August 12, 2011
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Johannesburg 11 March: South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs Nkosozana Dlamini- Zuma will today launch the 2011 Southern Africa Gender Protocol Barometer which introduces an index for measuring progress against the 28 targets of the Protocol to be achieved by 2015. The third Barometer moves into high gear with the introduction of the SADC Gender and Development Index (SGDI) that complements the Citizen Score Card (CSC) that has been running for three years. With empirical data on 23 indicators in six sectors, the SGDI puts SADC countries at 64% of where they need to be by 2015: the target date for meeting the 28 targets of the Protocol. Seychelles, South Africa and Lesotho lead the way with Mozambique, Angola, Malawi and DRC in the bottom four. Citizens rate their governments at a mere 55% (one percent up from last year). This measure is important because although the CSC is based on perceptions, it includes rights-based measures such as Constitutional and legal rights; gender violence; peace and security missing from the SGDI.

Salient findings are that:

  • Seychelles, South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia in that order score highest in the SGDI. South Africa, Namibia and Seychelles are also in the top four of the citizen score card, but Mauritius replaces Lesotho as a best performer in the eyes of citizens.
  • Mozambique, Angola, Malawi and DRC rank last in the SGDI. Citizens, in contrast, place Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Madagascar and Zimbabwe in the bottom four.
  • Across the board, citizens score their governments more harshly than the SGDI. For example Seychelles gets 79% in the SGDI but 61% in the citizen scoring exercise. Overall, the SGDI average score is 64% compared to 55% in the case of the CSC (up just one percent from last year). A significant reason for this difference is that the citizen score card includes gender violence, Constitutional and legal rights, peace and security that are missing from the SGDI. These rights-based considerations are likely to considerably lower scores, and point to the importance of broadening the SGDI in the future.

Although generally citizen scores have increased or remained the same, in some countries these have been revised downwards (for example in Namibia, Mauritius and Mozambique).

Drawing on far more comprehensive country data, and including 44 examples of the Protocol@work from all SADC countries, the 2011 Barometer is full of several red but also green lights. For example

  • Nine SADC constitutions provide for the promotion of women and seven have other provisions that relate to gender equality. But Contradictions between customary law and statutory law abound even where these are outlawed by the Constitution.
  • Representation of women in parliament has gone from an average of 21% in 2005 to 25% in 2011 in the SADC region compared to 3% to 19% globally. SADC comes second to Nordic countries. In Tanzania the proportion of women in parliament rose by 6 % to 36% in the October 2010 elections. South Africa has missed the opportunity to achieve gender parity at local level by 2015 when women’s representation slipped back to 38% in recent local elections. For all countries holding elections this year or before 2015 (e.g. Zambia, DRC) this will be the last opportunity to achieve the target. As many countries still do not have legislated or voluntary quotas, this poses major challenges.
  • Thirteen SADC countries are at some stage of developing or adopting a National Action Plan (NAP) to end Gender Violence. Only Angola and Madagascar have no NAPS. Four countries have draft NAPS; five have adopted NAPS; one – Mauritius – is at an advanced stage of implementation. Lesotho and Mauritius have both adopted and costed their NAPS. Gender violence remains the single most important impediment to the attainment of gender equality in SADC. Most cases of gender violence go unreported and a large number are withdrawn. A pilot project on developing comprehensive indicators for measuring gender violence in the Gauteng province of South Africa showed that over half the women have experienced violence of some kind in their lifetime; 18% in the last year. The most predominant form of violence – emotional or psychological- has no classification in police statistics. Men in the sample admitted to such behaviour even more than women reported experiencing such violence.

To view the Barometer, including summaries in French and Portuguese, go to:

For more information phone Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah on 27 (0) 84 365 6930.

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