Gender Justice Barometer, Issue 12: March 2007

Date: July 30, 2009
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Southern Africa
Gender Justice Barometer

Issue 12: March 2007

The Gender Justice Barometer is a joint project of Gender Links and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network
1. International Women’s Day:

Ending Impunity for   Violence against Women and Girls À“ United Nations
2. South Africa: 365 day National Action Plan to end gender violence launched
3. Botswana: International Women’s Day: Rallying for   women’s rights in Botswana
4. Mauritius: International Women Day celebrations
5. Zimbabwe: The Women’s Coalition commemorated the International Women’s Day in Harare
*Africa: Fast tracking to women’s equality in Africa
By Janah Ncube
*South Africa: Renewed commitment on the Sexual Offences Bill
Zimbabwe:   Violence Against Women and Girls/HIV & AIDS Campaign Strategy to be launched
*International: Female condoms: The missing prevention method

* Malawi: Violence Threatens Women’s Meagre Gains

*South Africa: Action plan puts gender violence firmly on the agenda
*Zimbabwe: Women must seize opportunities
We encourage your feedback, comments and information you would like us to include. Send an email to:
Loveness Jambaya-Nyakujarah

1. International Women’s Day: Ending Impunity for  Violence against Women and Girls À“ United Nations

Violence against women and girls is increasingly recognised as one of the most serious and urgent challenges of our times. In all parts of the world, its very real and harmful effects on women and girls have been seen to impede the pursuit of development, peace and gender equality. The international community and civil society together have concluded that there are no circumstances that can excuse violence that targets women and girls – it is always a violation of their human rights, it is always a crime, and it is always unacceptable.

All too often, perpetrators of violence against women and girls go unpunished. Such impunity – viewed by many as equally widespread, and equally unacceptable, as the violence – is a key element in perpetuating that violence and discrimination. As long as impunity for violence against women and girls is accepted and tolerated by society, so too will society continue to accept and tolerate acts of violence. Read more

2. South Africa: 365 Day National Action Plan to end gender violence launched

Over 800 delegates from a broad cross section of South African society converged at the Union Buildings on International Women’s Day for the launch of the 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender Violence.

The Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo- Ncquka and National convener of 16 Days of Activism, Deputy Minister Nomatyala Hangana reiterated their commitment to making sure the process moves swiftly into implementation mode.

Several representatives from different stakeholders expressed solidarity and support for the plan. A 14 year old survivor of gender violence spoke of her experience and how participating in the making of a film: Our own stories, our own voices, helped her come to terms with the abuse she experienced.

Stressing that “what is not counted does not count,À Colleen Lowe Morna, Executive Director of Gender Links said that statistics need to cover every aspect of gender violence and these must be monitored vigilantly. Reverend Bafana Khumalo, a leader of the Sonke One Man Can Campaign expressed the need for real men to stand up against gender violence.   Already there is a growing men’s movement that has become involved in ending gender violence.

Mlambo-Ncquka and Hangana emphasised that the plan should be canvassed as widely as possible so that every individual and every sector plays a role in ending gender violence.   The Deputy President said that she would convene a meeting in a month’s time and expected to receive a detailed calendar of activities spread in all nine provinces, across the whole year so that she could do spot checks on the campaign and ensure that the momentum is maintained. Hangana highlighted two priorities: carrying out a baseline study on gender violence and  localizing the national plan.

Cultural events included a poem by a young woman survivor; gospel music and a choir of former perpetrators serving their sentence.

3. Botswana: Rallying for  women’s rights in Botswana

Namibian refugee Sanette Reuben is a woman on a mission. Eight months pregnant and fighting a bout of malaria, the Chairperson of the Peace Messengers is hard at work ensuring that the preparations to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8 at Dukwi refugee camp fall into place.

Source: UNHCR News stories

4. Mauritius: Gender and media under the spotlight

To mark International Women’s Day (IWD) the President of Media Watch Organisation-GEMSA (MWO-GEMSA) Loga Virahsawmy, facilitated a half day workshop with upper VI students of a five star college on “Gender and the Media in AdvertisementsÀ. Later in the day MWO-GEMSA presented a paper on violence against women at the Municipal Council of Beau Bassin-RoseHill

Other IWD commemoration events organised by the MWO-GEMSA in collaboration with UNDP, the Attorney General’s office and Minister of Human Rights will coincide with the Independence Day of Mauritius on 15 March.

To mark the occasion three books will be launched:

  • Les leker koze/Speak Out/La Parole Liberatrice, a collection of true stories in Creole, English and French
  • Mirror on the media: Monitoring the media from a gender perspective
  • Zanfan Lalimier/Children of Light, empowerment of vulnerable children through a series of workshop on art therapy

5. Zimbabwe: Domestic Violence Act

The commemorations, which drew participants from different women organisations and diplomatic missions, celebrated the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act.

Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Sten Rylander, who delivered a solidarity message, said the promulgation of the Act was a milestone in the history of Zimbabwe.

“The Act, while not in itself the ultimate solution to all the problems associated with gender-based violence and discrimination, should be regarded as a necessary first step towards the realisation of gender equity.

“Further more, the Act has come into being at a time when domestic violence, both male to female and female to male are reportedly on the increase in Zimbabwe. Read full article
Source: Herald


Africa: Fast tracking to women’s equality in Africa
By Janah Ncube

The AU Protocol on women’s rights has breathed new life into the feminist movement in Africa and centralised the issue of women’s rights on the continent. But Janah Ncube says African women cannot afford to be complacent if implementation of the protocol is to be achieved in the near future. Read full article


South Africa: Renewed commitment on the Sexual Offences Bill

The Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ncquka confessed “embarrassmentÀ at government’s continued delay in the passing of the Sexual Offences Bill. She said “This Bill has taken too long and the reasons (given for the delay) are no longer credibleÀ. Mlambo-Ncquka added “Political parties in Parliament must take responsibility for this debacle and we must correct it.À

She said this at the launch of the 365 day National Action Plan to mark International Women’s Day.

She also made reference to new legislation that has been passed in response to gender based violence This includes the Children’s Bill and legislation in the pipeline to combat Trafficking in Persons.

There is however need to sensitise law enforcement agencies,   for example through the Integrated Domestic Violence Training Programme which has been launched.   A multi-sectoral training manual was developed to ensure the effective implementation of the Domestic Violence Act.


Zimbabwe:   Violence Against Women and Girls/HIV & AIDS Campaign Strategy to be launched

A group of civil society organisations have teamed to up to design a campaign strategy on Violence against Women and Girls/ HIV and AIDS (VAW-G/HIV).

The campaign to be launched soon, seeks to highlight the link between Violence Against Women and Girls and HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe. The strategy will address the issues by interrogating and lobbying around   the following areas:

  • Health Care Service Delivery in Response to VAW-G and HIV
  • Resources for Policy Implementation
  • Campaign Against Harmful Cultural Practices
  • Approaches to integrate VAW-G/HIV


International: Female condoms: The missing prevention method

By Lauren Sisson

In 2006, only one female condom was available for every 100 women worldwide. This disturbing fact won’t surprise anyone who’s ever tried to locate female condoms. My first attempt to purchase them resulted in a confused pharmacy technician showing me various spermicidal gels, vaginal sponges and a male condom marketed for women. Before traipsing to pharmacies across DC, I decided to call around. Of the 22 locations I called, 12 of which were pharmacies, only five carried female condoms: two Planned Parenthoods, two student health centers, and an HIV/AIDS clinic. None of these locations were open after business hours and the closest provider was a 20-minute metro ride from my office.

The fact that I had to traverse the city to find a female condom points to greater problems than those presented for sexual spontaneity. This experience starkly highlights a failure to market and distribute one of the most effective prevention methods, and the only available female-controlled method, against the sexual transmission of HIV. Read full article


Malawi: Violence Threatens Women’s Meagre Gains
By Pilirani Semu-Banda

Chanju Mwale is a true role model. Not only does the 28-year-old possess good academic credentials as a lawyer, landing her the job of the Malawi Defence Force’s legal officer, but she is also the only female officer in the force who holds the rank of captain.

All of these accolades to her name did not protect Mwale against assault. She is recovering from serious wounds to her face after she was attacked by a junior officer at an end-of-year party in 2004. Read full article

Source: IPS


South Africa: Action plan puts gender violence firmly on the agenda

By Loveness Jambaya-Nyakujarah

Launched on International Women’s Day 8 March the South African 365 Day National Action Plan places violence against women firmly on the national agenda. This year marks the 30th anniversary since the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution inviting Member States to proclaim 8 March International Women’s Day. The theme this year is “Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls.À As we move forward through this next year, imagining a world free from violence, we must all remember that it is only through real action on the ground that this plan will be realised.

Launching the plan is a milestone in the country’s young democracy. In a country with one of the most progressive constitutions in the world on gender equality, the persistently high levels of gender violence are a major blot on South Africa’s human rights copy book. Read full article

Zimbabwe: Women must seize opportunities

The world celebrated International Women’s Day yesterday, and Zimbabweans had something to celebrate.
Right from the moment it won the pre-independence election, Zanu-PF made it clear that it was going to make big changes in the inherited male-dominated systems derived from both colonial and customary law. Women had earned their equality and were going to get it.

In the first clear signal that action was going to follow talk, Cde Robert Mugabe, then first Prime Minister, brought a significant number of women into his first Cabinet giving a clear signal that those who fought together were going to govern together.

Source: Herald

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