In 2002/2003 GL conducted the seminal study, Ringing up the Changes: Gender in Southern African Politics, the first study of its kind to explore the impact of women in politics in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Among its key findings, this study identified local government as an area of weakness as almost all of the focus had been on parliamentarians. In 2006 Gender Links (GL) extended the research to the participation of women in local government in four SADC countries (Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia and South Africa) published in a book titled At the Coalface, Gender and Local Government. The study showed that at the local level very little is being done to involve or empower women, both within the institution or as part of their service delivery mandate. Click here to view the At the Coalface: Gender and Governance in Southern Africa DVD.

The research has been extended to Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Findings from this research have informed several actions and focused projects aimed at promoting gender mainstreaming and equality within local government.