Gender Justice Barometer, Issue 27, September 2008

Date: July 2, 2009
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*South Africa: Will Gender Protocol help business women?
*Namibia: Road map to raise awareness on the SADC Gender and
Development Protocol on the cards
*Mauritius: Women still seeking political kingdom

*Lesotho: Bills to address GBV and children’s plight at advanced
* Namibia: Customary law seen as blocking women’s progress
* Madagascar: Popularisation of gendr related laws under way

* Africa: Men too should go for fertility testing
*Zimbabwe: Sex crimes rampant during local elections
*Swaziland: Women challenge King Mswati


*Tanzania: Snags in the fight against gender violence listed
*Madagascar: Operations begin at the Counselling and Legal Council
*Tanzania: 24 expectant women are dying everyday
South Africa: Women raise their voice on service delivery
* Namibia: GEMSANam calls for ‘zero tolerance of GBV campaign’
*Tanzania: Child abuse most rampant, closely followed by violence
against women
* Tanzania:GEMSAT launches manual on institutiona capacity building

*Namibia: Renewed calls for Namibia National GBV Advisory Board
to  cabinet
*Africa: Children take on  fight against sexual exploitation
*Africa: Gender inequality shackles African economies

* South Africa: Pilot project to develop indicators to measure GBV on the cards
* Regional: Women tell their personal stories of surviving abuse
*Rwanda: African gender activists applaud female dominated parliament
*Zimbabwe: Blazing trail for women politicians.

* South Africa: Hope Worldwide Men as Partners (MAP) Programme

* Namibia: Launch of Girlsnet project
*South Africa: Working group meeting on GBV Indicators pilot project
*South Africa: I stories workshop
*Mauritius: I stories workshop
* South Africa:I stories workshop
*South Africa: Strategic Communications & IT workshop
*Namibia: Strategic Communications & IT workshop
* Namibia: I stories workshop
*Swaziland: Strategic Communications Training & IT workshop


South Africa: Pilot project to develop indicators to measure GBV on the cards

Plans to roll out a pilot project as part of a project to develop indicators to measure gender based violence for Southern Africa are at an advanced stage.  The pilot  project, muted at  a regional Think Tank Meeting held at the 10 – 11  July 2008.
South Africa, like many Southern African countries, has shifted from campaign mode to a more integrated programmatic approach to addressing gender violence through developing a 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender Violence. This provides a framework for prevention, support and response interventions.

A working meeting will be held on the 3rd of October 2008. The meeting provides an opportunity for South African stakeholders to begin developing baseline data against which progress in the implementation of the 365 Day Action Plan can be measured.

> Review the draft indicators agreed at the Think Tank Meeting in July.
>Determine roles and responsibilities according to who is best placed and or able to carry out different aspects of the project.

>Map a way forward in the roll out of the pilot project.
Regional: Women tell their personal stories of surviving abuse
Women tell their stories of surviving abuse. This is part of a series of workshops being held by  Gender Links in partnership with strategic partners to help women document their  stories in five countries: Botswana,  Mauritius, Namibia, South Arica and Swaziland.
Each “I Story” will share the personal experience of someone who has, in some way, been touched by gender-based violence in their lives. Gender violence can take many forms- physical, sexual, emotional and economic. In the past,  since 2004  stories from women who have left abusive relationships, young people who have coped with sexual abuse, and perpetrators of violence have been told.    The aim is to compile  experiences  from a wide range of people from different perspectives – men and women, mothers, fathers, daughters and brothers.   This year,  the main  focus is  on the theme of marginalised communities.  This includes experiences of gender violence and:
  • Xenophobia
  • Disability
  • Sexual Orientation
  • People living with HIV
  • Sex workers
  • Human Trafficking
First hand accounts are one of the most compelling ways of bringing home the reality of gender violence, its consequences, public and private responses.  For more information contact: Loveness Jambaya on or Debbie Walter on
Rwanda: African gender activists applaud female dominated parliament
The just ended parliamentary elections held in Rwanda have dealt patriarchy a heavy blow. Rwandan women now dominate the legislative assembly with a historic figure of 56.25 percent, at the time of going to press.
Rwanda is the first African country to comply with the African Union’s principle of gender equality, based on the notion of equality between the female and male sexes. The Protocol to The African Charter On Human And People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa states: “Discrimination against women” means any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”
The Protocol further states on women’s participation in the political and decision-making processes: “Women are represented equally at all levels with men in all electoral processes.” An excited minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, could only thank Rwandans for voting wisely.  Read full article

Zimbabwe: Blazing trail for women politicians

By Ephraim Nsingo
You could spot her easily in the evening newscasts: the only woman among the grey-suited men daily accosted by reporters as they emerged, tense and tight-lipped, from the closed-door meetings.

In the recent power-sharing talks between the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu PF) and two wings of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga was the sole woman negotiator, representing the splinter MDC faction.

On Sep. 15, when the power-sharing agreement was signed amidst cheers and clapping, her eyes darted across the room, in vain.

“There was not even one placard from the women’s movement,” she told IPS. “I was greatly disappointed.”

The comment betrays her activist heart and life. For Misihairabwi-Mushonga, 41, is not your typical mainstream politician, slowly rising through party ranks. She cut her teeth with the women’ and human rights movement in the early 1990s, when civil society clawed its space in Zimbabwe’s de facto one-party state. Read full article

Source: IPS


South Africa: Will Gender Protocol help business women?
South African women in business welcomed the recently-signed South African Development Community (SADC) Gender and Development Protocol, but are sceptical about its ability to truly achieve greater gender equality in business and trade.
The Gender and Development Protocol signed in Johannesburg by heads of state of the SADC region at the end of August intends to ensure equal rights for women across a wide range of issues, including constitutional and legal reform, governance, education, productive resources, gender-based violence, health, peace-building and conflict resolution.

It also aims to make certain that women have equal access to land, and participate equally in trade and entrepreneurship including access to state procurement opportunities.

“We hope that since gender issues were profiled in such an important forum and signed off by important players, the Protocol will translate into a real difference for women entrepreneurs,” says Yvette Montalbano, CEO of the Businesswomen Association of South Africa (BWASA). Read full article
Namibia: Road map to raise awareness on the SADC Gender and Development Protocol on the cards
The Non-Governmental Organisation NANGOf,  the Namibia  umbrella organisation for civil society will take the lead  in facilitating work on raising awareness on the  SADC Gender Protocol in  the country. Namibia based Southern Africa Protocol  Alliance representatives have teamed up with the gender sector in NANGOf to accelerate implementation of a plan of action crafted by the Alliance during a meeting held parallel to the Heads of State Summit in August this year.

A briefing session was held which brought together the president, NANGOf gender sector,  and key ministries to discuss a way forward on implementation of  the Protocol in Namibia.  At the time of writing an all stakeholder meeting is scheduled to happen on  the 29th of September 2008 which will be hosted by the Ministry of Gender.
In the future civil society’s focus will be around  lobbying for ratification and implementation of  the Gender Protocol by the Namibia government.
Mauritius: Women still seeking political kingdom

Mauritius – along with Botswana, Malawi and Madagascar – did not sign the Gender Protocol at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in August. While the island nation has made some recent progress in political representation of women at the level of Parliament, much remains to be done to allow women to enjoy their full rights in the political arena.
Mauritius is expected to sign the Gender Protocol soon; the country will have its work cut out for it to meet the target of 30 percent women at all levels of government by 2015.
Women are active on all the fronts during election campaigns – door to door canvassing, organising meetings, mobilising supporters for rallies, distributing leaflets and tracts, sticking posters, placing banners on the road and even cooking for the candidates, agents and others.
Yet, very few ask for and get a ticket for themselves to stand as candidates. “There is a patriarchal culture here that pervades the whole political system and makes men fight for tickets like vultures,” says researcher Sheila Bunwaree-Ramharai from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Mauritius. “How can women fit into that?” Read full article
Lesotho: Bills to address GBV and children’s plight at advanced stages
Lesotho is making progress towards having legislation that deals with domestic violence cases  and the plight of  vulnerable children as evidenced by both the Domestic Violence Bill and the Child Protection and Welfare  Bill respectively  .
Country wide consultations on the Domestic Violence Bill have come to a close and  areport of the consultations still at draft zero, is in its final stages. This is in preparation for tabling of the Domestic Violence Bill in parliament. Currently there is no law in Lesotho that governs domestic violence except the common proviso on assault –  as common assault or assault with grievous bodily harm. This will go a long way in ensuring that domestic violence case are dealt with appropriately.
The  Child Protection and Welfare Bill that has been pending since 2004 is scheduled to be tabled before parliament before October 4, 2008. This was said  by the  Minisiter of Labour and Welfare, Advocate Refiloe Masemene at a ministerial round table.
UNICEF and Social Welfare Director, Chisepo indicated that children who lost both parents mainly due to the devasating effects of HIV and AIDS, have the burden of heading households. They have to fend for themselves under difficult conditions.  With 57% of children in primary schools are orphans while 30% are out of school – 60% being girls- this Bill will go a long way in alleviating their plight.
Namibia: Customary law seen as blocking women’s progress
By Petronella Sibeene

Experts from different sectors in the country in September met in the capital (Windhoek)  for a one-day workshop to discuss possible detrimental effects that customary law might have on the empowerment of women in the country. Namibia has a dual legal system where the constitution recognizes both customary law and Roman-Dutch law.
Representatives from the Office of the Ombudsperson, the Justice ministry, the Law Society, University of Namibia, Traditional Authorities and experts from Lesotho and Zimbabwe met in the capital Windhoek.
High Court Judge Kato van Niekerk said during the workshop that women in Namibia continue to be subjected to inequality in law despite equality for all being at the core of human rights and social justice.
She says while customary law enjoys special constitutional status, it has always been difficult to reconcile the basic human rights of individuals, particularly women, with the traditions in Namibia where cultural diversity flourishes. Read full article
Madagascar: Popularisation of gender related laws under way
photo on desktopA workshop organised by the  Department of  the Gender  Promotion in  the Ministry of Health,  Family Planning and Protection  as part of efforts  to popularise the gender related laws. The laws  have a bearing on marriage,  human trafficking for sexual exploitation,  child abuse among other  issues.    The workshop, held  on 16th September 2008 in the palace of Toamasina was chaired by the Director  of  the Department of Gender Promotion.  Read more on
Africa: Men too should go for fertility testing
By Arthur Okwemba
An infuriating, yet widespread, characteristic of our society is how blame is heaped on women, pretty much whenever something goes wrong, especially in relationships. This is particularly painful when couples are unable to have a baby, with the blame always leveled against the woman. She is forced to go through a series of fertility tests and hop from one doctor to another, just to determine her ability to have a baby.

She has to contend with the flak from in-laws for her failure to give them a child. In other instances, the husband, under the insistence of his family or on his own volition, may decide to marry a second wife who can do what the first wife has failed to achieve.
However, as all this plays out, rarely are questions raised about the ability of the man to father a child, or to go for fertility tests as well. There is this misconception that fertility issues are women matters. Society believes that men are prolific, even when they have no sperm count at all or their sperms are deformed or immotile. Read full article
Source: Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service

Zimbabwe: Sex crimes rampant during local elections
By Partson Matsikidze
Zimbabweans hoped for an end to the prevailing political and economic mayhem after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to negotiate a settlement after three months of politically motivated violence that included the rampant rape of women.
According to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), an estimated 200 of the party’s supporters were killed and thousands were displaced, charges denied by both the police and ZANU-PF.
Women’s lobby groups say about the same number of women (200) were raped during the run-up to the June 27 presidential run-off. While both sexes were subjected to various forms of brutal abuses women were the worst affected, the women’s groups say.
The women were allegedly forced to do laundry and “entertain” their abusers at militia bases around the country. Women’s groups say although reports of the abuse of females were generally rampant, it was difficult to get accurate statistics because victims were reluctant to come forward because of social and security concerns.
And because rape is considered a taboo in terms of African customs and traditions, some victims still suffer in silence because of the fear of being shunned by society for the rest of their lives. Read full article
Swaziland: Women challenge King Mswati
By Manthoe Phakhati

Hard on the heels of the signing of the Gender Protocol at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state summit, Swazi women have challenged King Mswati III on the monarchy’s lavish lifestyle in the face of abject poverty and disease.

The Gender Protocol calls for 50 percent representation of women in all levels of government by 2015 and further urges member states to put in place legislative measures guaranteeing gender sensitive political and policy structures.

The protocol also calls for gender-specific approaches to treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS which the more than 1,000 demonstrators, mainly women and people living with HIV/AIDS, demanded in petitions to the Minister of Finance, Majozi Sithole, and Prime Minister Themba Dlamini.

The march was triggered by a recent trip to the Middle East by eight of King Mswati’s 13 wives who left the country with their children, bodyguards, aides and maids by private jet for an undisclosed mission on August 15.

Government remained mum on both the nature of this controversial trip and the source of its funding, but there is a widespread speculation that the Emakhosikati (the king’s wives) were on a shopping spree in Dubai ahead of the double celebration on September 6 of the king’s 40th birthday and four decades of Swaziland’s independence.   Read full article

Source: IPS
Tanzania: Snags in the fight against gender violence listed
and dropped the case.

Source: The Citizen Newspaper

The culture of secrecy, insensitivity of police and hospitals on gender violence cases is among factors  undermining efforts to fight violence against women in Zanzibar.
This is revealed  in a survey carried out by hte Tanzania Media Women’s Association which covers June 2007 – June 2008. It indicated that communities in teh Isles still consider  violence against women as a private matter and discourages survivors of gender violence from taking legal action.
“Some police officers humiliate women even more when they report cases of  violence against women and sometimes  they  even bribe the officers for their cases to be processed…If the police force had more qualified staff to deal with violence against women these incidences would be less,” the survey noted.
It also found out  that some police officers engaged in  hearing and making decisions on the cases. This is especially so with  women who know very little about their rights and legal procedures.
The survey gives an example of a case in Kumbini in Southern Pemba where in 2007 a 13 year old girl was raped by two men aged 30 years. After the case was reported to a police station, police officers advised the child’s family to accept a compensation of 800,000 from the accused

Madagascar:  Operations begin at the  Counselling and Legal Council Centre

Within 15 days of opening the Counselling and Legal Council Centre (CECJ) had recieved 15 visitors and resolved three cases of gender based violence. The CECJ opened its doors on August 16th, 2008.
The Centre works with local jurists and para jurists who attend to victims and survivors of gender based violence. They recieve complaints and try to find ways of assisting them in different ways including counselling and legal aid. Currently the Federation for the Promotion of Women and Children is negotiating with local telephonic operators to set up a toll free number for the Counselling and Legal Council Centre.
Tanzania: 24 expectant women are dying everyday
By Sylvester Joseph
Corrupt medical officers and poor maternal health care has been blamed for deaths of 24 expecting women daily in Tanzania. The revelation was made by Head of Analysis, Research and Publications of the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), Marjorie Mbilinyi in a special interview with The African.
She said in every hour, one woman dies, adding that the problem was propelled by lack of maternity kits in hospital, where a patient is asked to buy her own before being attended to. Corruption among medical staff who ask for bribes before attending to patients.
“We are losing many lives through the hands of insensitive medical officers…”she added. Read full article
Source: The African
South Africa: Women raise their voice on service delivery

A group of about 2 000 women has urged the government to pay urgent attention to providing better housing for the poor.

The event, Voices of Women, is aimed at honour ordinary women who have done extraordinary things within their communities. It offers them the chance to put their concerns directly to members of the provincial government.

The idea was to also turn the spotlight on challenges they faced, including identifying economic opportunities, looking for alternative energy sources, alleviating poverty, and meeting the Millennium Development Goals. But housing emerged clearly as the women’s priority. Read full article


Namibia: GEMSANAM calls for ‘Zero Tolerance of GBV campaign’
The Namibia chapter of the Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSANam) is advocating for a zero tolerance on gender  violence campaign in which all levels of Namibia participate. The plan involves setting up committes to spearhead, monitor and evaluate the campaign at all levels from the national, regional, consituencies right up to local community levels.

Part of the campaign will involve promoting positive portrayal of family relationships and relations between women and men. This will involve creating advertisements portraying ways of peaceful resolution of conflicts and gender training for media practitioners among other activities.

Tanzania: Child abuse most rampant, closely followed by violence against women

Child abuse is the leading human rights violation (HRV) in the country, the latest half year research results released by the Legal and Human Rights Centre

The Tanzania Chapter of the Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSAT) launched an institutional and capacity building manual early  September,  to build the capacity of the network in institutional governance.

An effective gender and media network in the country will ensure that media is critiqued with a gender lens. MISA Tanzania Director Rose Haji said that the manual would also help guide GEMSAT in provide training on gender development, gender based violence, reproductive health and child abuse among social issues. It would further help mainstreaming gender issues at the workplace.

“Our goal (GEMSAT) is to enhance capacity of journalists on reporting gender issues and at the same time ensure that the voices of women and men in all their diversity are equitably portrayed in the media.

(LHRC) have revealed. The violation against children accounted for 15 per cent of the total cases surveyed and equaled violation associated with witchcraft.

Following closely at 14 per cent were cases of violence against women. Other human rights abuses high up on the list included corruption (13 per cent), mob violence and access to justice (tied at nine per cent), extra-judicial killings (five per cent) and torture (at seven per cent).

The research done by an advocate of the LHRC, Mr Clarence Kipobota, was released at a press conference yesterday. It also indicated that problems associated with refugees scored six per cent while the disabled, elderly and indigenous people came at four, two and one per cent respectively.  Read full article
Source: The Citizen Online


Namibia: Renewed calls for Namibian National GBV Advisory Board to Cabinet

GEMSA-Namibia  calls for strengthening of the integrated  approach to end gender violence and ensure all sectors are included. The recommendation is that a National Gender Based Violence Advisory Board to cabinet be set up and launched.

Africa: Children take on fight against sexual exploitation

Children should not be seen as victims of sexual exploitation, but rather the front-line fighters against it, said non-profit Save the Children Sweden at a preparatory meeting in Dakar in advance of the World Congress against sexual exploitation of children and adolescents to be held in Rio, Brazil in November 2008.

The summit will be co-organised by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and NGO End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT). Up to 22 children from 15 African countries joined human rights groups, child specialists and non-profit organisations to debate how children can take on a bigger role in the fight against exploitation.

“Children need a voice in society,À 14-year-old Tenicia from South Africa told IRIN. “Adults tend to forget about children. Most children don’t know about the dangers of sexual exploitation. They don’t know their rights.À Read full article

Source: IRIN News

Photo: H.Caux:UNHCR

Africa: Gender inequality shackles African economies

By LuÁ­sa Dias Diogo, Greg Mills and Ulla Toernaes

What can a mother of six do when her husband’s sporadic contributions to the household run dry? Thirty-five-year-old Amina created a job – an extraordinary achievement for a previously unemployed woman living in Djougou in northwest Benin.

A micro loan from a local organisation helped her create a successful business. Today she is selling cooked rice at the nearby school. One day, Amina says, she will open a restaurant.

Providing economic opportunities for women and creating entrepreneurs such as Amina create positive ripples beyond just their immediate families. Not only are such women able to improve their own income and welfare, changing their own lives and the lives of their children in the process, but more than that, it is fundamental for creating economic growth and development in Africa. Read full article
Source: Business Day


In the next few editions we will feature  a series  of  best practices  of the prevention of  gender based  violence.    These case studies were gathered during a mapping  exercise  of promising  violence prevention models in South  Africa. Gender Links was commissioned by the Inter Departmental Management Team of the South Africa Government  under the leadership of the National Prosecuting Authority-Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit and UNICEF.

You are invited to submit case studies of ‘What is working in addressing gender based violence.” Contributions should be sent to Loveness Jambaya

This month we feature an example of programmes which focus  on  young girls and gender based violence.

South Africa:  Girls Education Movement

Then Minister of Education, Kader Asmal, launched the South African chapter of GEM in Parliament in 2003. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the South African National Department of Education collaborated to institute GEM in all of the country’s nine provinces. Although gender equity is a national priority, the Gender Equity Unit of the South African Department of Education, which is the lead implementer of the programme, did not have the resources or funds to roll out GEM in every province universally.

GEM has been rolled out in provinces over a period of three years, and has reached the goal of having programme sites in each of the nine provinces by 2006. Since 2003 the programme has been implemented in the provinces as follows; Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State, North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Gauteng. The Department of Education and UNICEF have supported 164 primary schools and 53 secondary schools in establishing the GEM programme. Read more


1 October 2008 Launch of the Girlsnet project focussing on young girls and gender based violence
3 October 2008
South Africa: Working group meeting GBV Indicators   pilot project
4 October 2008 South Africa: I stories workshop
4 October 2008 Mauritius:  ‘I’ stories workshop
6-8 October 2008
South Africa: Strategic Communications & IT Capacity building workshop
13 – 16 October 2008
Namibia: Strategic Communications Training & IT Capacity Building  workshop
17 -18 October Namibia: ‘I’ stories workshop
20 – 23 October 2008
Swaziland: Strategic Communications Training & IT Capacity Building workshop

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