Gender Justice Barometer, Issue 16: July 2007

Date: July 29, 2009
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Southern Africa
Gender Justice Barometer

Issue 16: July 2007

The Gender Justice Barometer is a joint project of Gender Links and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network

In this issue:
1. Swaziland: Swazis craft a National Action Plan to End Gender Violence
2. Namibia: National Conference on Gender Based Violence
3.Regional: Action will make SADC Gender Protocol commitments a reality
4. Mauritius: Time to focus the gender lens on local government
5. South Africa: Rise in hate crime a cause for concern
*Madagascar: UNICEF Congratulates the Government of Madagascar on Two New Laws
*South Africa: Justice delayed is justice denied
* Africa: 10 African Leaders Call for Safe, Legal Abortion
*Mauritius: Budget to create opportunities for women
*Global: Show Us The Money: Is Violence Against Women On The HIV & AIDS Donor Agenda?
*Swaziland: Empowering women to beat abuse
*Global: Discrimination and inequality jeopardize the Millennium Development Goals
*Zimbabwe: Report Child Abuse Cases, Women Told
*Tanzania: Women excel with opportunities, not pity
*Lesotho: Lesotho fertile ground for human traffickers
10. ANNOUNCEMENT: SPI-MAP HIV and AIDS and Gender Media Awards

Lesotho: Lesotho fertile ground for human traffickers

We encourage your feedback, comments and information you would like us to include. Send an email to:
Loveness Jambaya-Nyakujarah


1. Swaziland: Swazis craft a National Action Plan to End Gender Violence

Swaziland has become the fifth SADC country to develop a draft National Action Plan to End Gender Violence after Namibia, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

The workshop that took place from 27 À“ 29 June 2007 was convened by Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA), Gender and Media Southern Africa Network À“ Swaziland (GEMSWA) and Gender Links (GL) and the Gender Unit in the Ministry of Home Affairs. It aimed to build upon a 2006 Gender Based Violence (GBV) situational analysis and GBV campaign launched in April 2007.

Moving beyond the launched awareness raising campaign the action plan provides specific targets, timeframes, outputs and budget over a three year period and allocates responsibilities for achieving this. The action plan, which will be launched during the Sixteen Days of Activism in 2007, includes a coordinating structure for ensuring that all sectors of society are mobilized in the fight against gender violence.

The workshop was officially opened by the Principal Secretary, Misheck Shongwe in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Two survivors of GBV and one counsellor also participated in crafting the action plan. Click here for Swaziland Draft National Action Plan

2. Namibia: National Conference on Gender Based Violence held

Actions and not words are needed to end gender violence in the country. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare will be working closely with line ministries on recommendations from a four day Gender Based Violence (GBV) conference and make a submission to cabinet. Line ministries will also discuss ways on how the proposed recommendations can be included into their next annual budget. Approximately 350 delegates from all 13 regions in Namibia gathered for a four day National Conference on GBV which ran from 19 -22 June 2007 organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare with assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

A workshop convened by GEMSA-Namibia and Gender Links in July 2006 to extend the 16 Days awareness raising and advocacy campaign by developing a National Action Plan, key stakeholders including NGOs, government officials and UN agencies identified key interventions that need to be implemented throughout the year. One of the resolutions was that a National Conference on Gender Based Violence be held. After much lobbying and advocacy by different strategic partners the conference became a reality. GEMSA Namibia was represented on the planning committee.

Officially opened by the President of Namibia, the conference concluded that action and not words were needed end gender violence.   GEMSA Namibia launched a publication, ‘I storiesÀ which is a compilation of first hand accounts of survivors of GBV at the conference which was well received.   The process of writing their own stories has always been argued as therapeutic for survivors of GBV and gives the human face to the discussion.

A full report on the conference deliberations and outcomes will be issued by the Ministry of Gender Equality once it has been finalised.

3. Regional: Action will make SADC Gender Protocol commitments a reality

By Pamela Mhlanga

All indications are that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State will adopt the Gender and Development Protocol at the upcoming SADC Summit in Lusaka in August 2007.

Gender ministers are to hold a final meeting on 20 July in Maputo, Mozambique to review the draft Protocol, which would then be reviewed by justice ministers before being forwarded to Heads of State at their annual summit being held in Lusaka, Zambia from 16-18 August. While the timing is tight, it is still expected that this ground-breaking instrument will go before heads of state this year. The question remains, what is a Protocol, and what does this particular Protocol mean for women? Read full article. Source: GL Opinion and Commentary Service.

Click here to view the draft SADC Gender Protocol

4. Mauritius: Time to focus the gender lens on local government

It is time for a comprehensive strategy to address the gender gaps in local government. This is the key message to emerge from a four day workshop on mainstreaming gender in local government following the launch in of “At the Coalface: Gender and Local Government in Southern Africa.À

Organised by the Ministry of Local Government in partnership with Media Watch Organisation and the South African-based Gender Links the workshop brought together 25 councillors and officials from district, municipal and village councils from around. Participants drafted a gender strategy for local government covering a broad range of areas. Among other measures to be taken is the mounting of high profile campaigns at the local level for ending gender violence and for the prevention of HIV and AIDS. Click here to view the Mauritius Draft Gender Strategy for Local Government.

5.South Africa: Rise in hate crime a cause for concern

Hate crime is increasing at an alarming rate in South Africa. While there are no consolidated statistics increased media reports of gruesome murders of individuals because of their sexual orientation suggest this rise.

The recent killing of two lesbian women, Sizakele Sigasa, a gay and lesbian rights activist, and her friend Salome Masooa, in Soweto, Johannesburg is believed to have been a result of their sexual orientation.  This has received wide condemnation from rights activists and especially the gay and lesbian community which has been subject to social marginalisation for a long time.

While government has made a bold move to recognise the rights of gays and lesbians by passing the Civil Unions Act a lot still needed to be done to educate and raise awareness amongst service providers especially the police and the general public that gay and lesbian rights are human rights and need to be upheld by all.


Madagascar: UNICEF congratulates the government of Madagascar on two new laws

ANTANANARIVO June 2007: New ground was broken when the Government of Madagascar’s Parliament approved two new laws; the first a broad bill to ensure increased child protection for vulnerable children throughout the country, and the second to change the legal age of marriage from 14 years for girls and 17 years for boys, to 18 years for both genders. Read more

Source: WUNRN

South Africa: Justice delayed is justice denied

IN  SOLIDARITY  with BUYISIWE: Rape survivor takes stand in Wynberg Sexual Offences Court.

Date: 17th À“ 18th July 2007

Why are these dates important?

Almost 2 years since the  gang rape happened, Buyisiwe*  will finally  take the stand on 18 July 2007  and give evidence. This part of the court process is particularly difficult for the complainant, as she is expected to give details of the sexual violence. She will also be subjected to cross examination. This is often referred to as ‘the second rape’ by rape survivors.

Contact: Catherine  /Carrie for more information on 011 424345.

* Not her real name. Visit

Africa: 10 African leaders call for safe, legal abortion

Political leaders of 10 African countries this week called for the legalization of safe abortion procedures in an effort to curb maternal mortality among African women. “It is sad to learn that 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion each year and out of these, 30,000 are in Africa,” said Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori at a three-day conference addressing human rights and maternal mortality.

He and representatives from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia urged African leaders to make a “political commitment” to end unsafe abortion in their countries. Read more

Source: MS (Feminist magazine)


Mauritius: Budget to create opportunities for women

By Loga  Loga Virahsawmy

When it comes to gender equality, legislation and awareness is vital, but the budgets to back them up are what has the potential to transform reality. Gender blind budgets have been to the detriment of women all over the world. Read full article

Global: Show us the money: Is violence against women on the HIV & AIDS donor agenda?

This research report from the Women Won’t Wait Campaign highlights the lack of priority given to tackling gender-based violence against women by the major international HIV funding organisations. The research found that the funding bodies continue to treat violence against women as a supplementary issue rather than as something integral to all aspects of their work on HIV.

The report recommends that these institutions develop a clear policy framework that gives priority to violence against women and girls, and the link with HIV. These bodies should begin to encourage collaboration between groups working on violence against women and those working on HIV, and develop links between the HIV and the sexual health and reproductive rights sectors. Read more



SWAZILAND: Empowering women to beat abuse

Most Swazi women who face domestic violence do not take their children and walk out of the house. “They say, ‘who is going to feed me?'” Nonhlanhla Dlamini, Director of the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) says.

An innovative SWAGAA programme to empower women economically in Swaziland’s patriarchal society is helping many out of a cycle of abuse and dependency. The Swazi Women’s Economic Empowerment Project started early in 2006; today, there are 32 cooperatives serving over 47,000 beneficiaries, mainly women and their dependents, which can even include husbands in a country with an unemployment rate of 40 percent.   Read more.


Global: Discrimination and inequality jeopardize the Millennium Development Goals

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, issued the following statement, on the midpoint of the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) in July:

“The global snapshot at the halfway point* of the MDGs does not make for happy reading. Despite progress in some areas and in some parts of the world, it appears that Governments are not honouring the commitments they have made.

The latest data reveals that over half a million women still die each year from treatable and preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Child mortality rates remain deeply troubling in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and the number of people dying of HIV/AIDS worldwide increased to 2.9 million in 2006, with prevention measures failing to keep pace with the growth of the epidemic. Alarmingly, sub-Saharan Africa is presently not on track to achieve any of the Goals.

Zimbabwe: Report child abuse cases, women told

Failure by women, in particular, to report cases of child abuse by close relatives for fear of retribution, has resulted in the recurrence of such cases in Zimbabwe, the Justice for Children Trust has said. Read more.

Source: The Herald


Tanzania: Women excel with opportunities, not pity

By Samira Kiango

For many years, Sweden and Norway occupied the world’s top spot in terms of the highest percentage of female representation in their respective parliaments. This distinction now belongs to a tiny landlocked African nation: Rwanda.

For a country still recovering from a crisis, the 1994 genocide that claimed nearly one million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus, having a 48 percent female representation the total number of its parliamentarians is a great achievement. Legislators aside, half of the country’s Supreme Court judges are women, and a woman heads the court itself. Women also make fifty percent of all Rwanda’s college graduates.

Lesotho: Now fertile ground for human traffickers

By Teboho Senthebane

“This is one of them,À laments Likeleli Maseko*, pointing out an advert posted on an electrical pole along Maseru Kingsway. I ask, “One of what?À Her reply is chilling. “Glamorous false job offers that lure girls and young women abroad.À

A former teacher’s friend promised Maseko a job as a baby sitter/nanny abroad. Effusive and convincing, she dropped out of secondary school, told her parents she was following her dreams, and packed her bags to leave her home in Heremone, Mafeteng for greener pastures. Instead, she found herself in Nigeria, forced into a life where, for three years, different men treated her as a sex slave and forced her into sex work.

10. ANNOUNCEMENT: SPI-MAP HIV and AIDS and Gender Media Awards

The Sol Plaatje Institute (SP) and Gender Links (GL) announce the SPI-MAP HIV/AIDS and Gender Media Awards to be presented at the Highway Africa Conference in Grahamstown, South Africa in September 2007. There will be two awards for HIV and AIDS Policies and Gender Policies.

Award objectives:

To identify and recognise progressive newsroom leadership; the development and implementation of HIV and AIDS and gender policies which are making a difference in the workplace and in the coverage of these issues by media houses.

For more information on how your media house can enter and eligibility click here.

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