Roadmap to equality

Date: November 24, 2014
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November’s Alliance News is integrated into the Sixteen Days of Activism Newsletter, going out daily during the Sixteen Days campaign period. The newsletter is packed with plans, reflections and reviews of the road we have travelled to tackle gender based violence (GBV). The information also demonstrates how far much farther we must travel to eradicate gender violence and end the war on women’s bodies.

The Alliance networks will be working closely with Gender Links’ nine offices across the SADC region as we observe this important period and raise our voices in the fight for gender equality. We also break the glass ceiling with a new baseline study of attitudes towards gender equality in the region, by incorporating questions related to diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

The Beijing +20 review has mobilised civil society and governments alike on a strong position for gender equality as we move towards post-2015. We continue to connect the dots at the International Civil Society Week where GL has observed various discussions on civil society activism and the post-2015 development agenda. The Alliance maintained its strong position on indicators for gender equality for Sustainable Development Goals.

The past month, the Alliance broke new ground by chairing the first ever convening of GAMAG, where the missing media targets and indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals were discussed. Although the SDGs are progressive and worth applauding, the media is far too important to be left out of any development framework.

As the world plans for the Sixteen Days of Activism, it is important for us to remember the survivors of GBV and help amplify their voices. Furthermore, we need to start interrogating how GBV often escalates, resulting in disturbingly high rates of femicide. This trend cuts across the region and is of great concern as 2015 draws near.

GL and the Alliance theme for this year’s Sixteen Days campaign is Empower women, end violence, highlighting the relationship between independence, autonomy and bodily integrity. It also builds on the hypothesis that women who are economically empowered are able to escape abusive relationships. We will be profiling our Entrepreneurship Programme which aims to empower survivors of violence, also linking with both business people and the economic sector to highlight this phenomenon.

The alliance networks have wrapped up their country level meetings where they discussed the post-2015 agenda and strengthening tracking of the SADC Gender Protocol implementation in each country. The results of these meetings will be reflected in each of the country Barometers that will be launched in December and early 2015.

We have just witnessed elections in Botswana and Mozambique, and hoping that the 5050 campaign helped increase the numbers of women in government. Political parties in Mauritius have fielded very few women for the upcoming elections, thus we will regretfully see a decline of women in political decision-making. We also observe closely the election campaigns for Lesotho. Gender equality should be entrenched in the Kingdom’s peace building efforts and election processes in order for true democracy to prevail. The Alliance is praying for our Zambian colleagues following the loss of President Sata and we trust that again gender equality will prevail as they work towards choosing a new head of state.

As we approach the end of 2014, it is time we seriously implement post-2015 strategies for gender equality at the local, regional and global levels. The time is now! Yes we must!


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