• Call for Gender Parity in Mozambique

    Mozambican non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have urged political parties to select equal numbers of men and women on their lists of parliamentary candidates for the general elections scheduled for 15 October 2014.

    The appeal, issued by a range of organisations including Gender Links, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa), and JOINT (League of NGOs in Mozambique), reminds the parties that, under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, at least 50 percent of decision-making posts in both public and private sectors in SADC member states should be occupied by women by 2015.

    The NGOs state that none of the three parliamentary parties - the ruling the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO), Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) have a woman as either their president or their general secretary.

    To read the article titled, “NGOs call for gender parity,” click here.

    All Africa
  • CGE Pleased With Women in Cabinet

    The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) is pleased with the number of female members in President Jacob Zuma's new Cabinet.

    In a press statement, the commission points out that, “…although 50/50 gender parity has not been reached, it is within reach and should be possible to reach in the next election."

    The commission notes that women ministers constitute about 40 percent of the membership of the new cabinet, further welcoming the increase in the number of female deputy ministers compared to the previous administration.

    To read the article titled, “Commission for Gender Equality pleased with number women in cabinet,” click here.

    Times Live
  • South Africa Misses The Mark on Women in Politics

    Following the elections and President Jacob Zuma's recent cabinet appointments, South Africa has missed its last opportunity - so tantalisingly close - to achieve gender parity in politics ahead of the 2015 deadline.
    The 50 percent target for women's representation in all areas of decision-making is enshrined in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development adopted in South Africa in 2008.
    South Africa came under the spotlight at the SADC Protocol@Work summit on 27 May 2014, under the theme, ‘50/50 by 2015, and a Strong Post- 2015 Agenda’. The summit brings together 350 activists and government officials from across the region in the final countdown to 2015 - the deadline for the 28 targets of the Protocol.  
    Women's representation in parliament dropped from 44 percent in the 2009 elections to 40 percent in the 7 May 2014 polls, while that of women in provincial legislatures dropped from 41 to 37 percent. Following the announcement of the new cabinet at the weekend, women in cabinet remain at 41 percent. The proportion of women premiers dropped from 55 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2014. In the 2011 local elections, women's representation dropped from 40 percent to 38 percent.
    "South Africa is the one country that should have hit the bull's eye," said Gender Links chief executive officer, Colleen Lowe Morna. The reason for the drop, she noted, "is that South Africa has steadfastly refused to adopt a legislated quota, leaving this to the whims of political parties." 
    The relatively high numbers owed to the ruling African National Congress' [ANC] 50 percent quota. "But the ANC has not always stuck to its quota. And as its majority has declined, both at national and local level, so has the representation of women," Lowe-Morna noted. "We rest our case: the issue is too important to leave to the fate of political parties."
    The ANC adopted a voluntary 30 percent quota for women in 2002, and upped this to 50 percent in 2009. However, the party did not live up to this quota nor did they stick to the zebra proportional representation on the party list, since the first three people on the ANC party list are men.
    Out of the 249 ANC seats at national level, 115 (46 percent) are held by women. This is a four percent decline from 2009.
    The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has always been averse to quotas. Helen Zille came under fire for appointing an all-male cabinet in the Western Cape in 2009. Women hold only 27 of the 89 seats (30 percent). At provincial level, women's representation in the DA declined by four percentage points from 35 percent in 2009 to 31 percent in 2014.
    In her Western Cape cabinet, Zille boasted that she had increased women's representation by 200 percent as she now has two women in cabinet. She added that she would not discriminate in favour of women because they have X chromosomes or against men because they have Y chromosomes.
    "This is simplistic and it is disappointing, coming from a woman leader," commented Lowe Morna. "Zille completely ignores the historical imbalances between women and men. Nowhere in the world have these been corrected without deliberate measures to do so."  
    The new kid on the block, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) got a whopping 25 seats in parliament of which only nine (35 percent) are held by women. At provincial level, the party has 38 percent women. During Women's Month last year, the EFF said they "view the deplorable condition of the majority of women as a slap in the face for women who sacrificed so much for our liberation". With that in mind, although higher than many other parties 35 percent of women is still a slap in the face to gender parity.
    In another show of blatant gender blindness, the Inkhatha Freedom Party (IFP) continues to demonstrate a disturbing decline after each election. Out of the 10 seats in parliament, only two seats (21 percent) are held by women. This is a one percent decline from 2009, and a 14 percent decline from 2004. The decline also extends to the provincial level, down from 35 percent in 2009 to 20 percent women in 2014.
    Agang, led by a woman, only got two seats. However party leader Mamphela Ramphele, said she is not going to Parliament because she wants to reflect on her party's disappointing performance, and is putting forward two male MPs.
    In the 2009 elections, the ANC managed to get 50/50 representation of premiers. In 2014, of the eight provinces that the ANC won, men lead seven, while one province is led by a woman (13 percent). Nationally, there are seven (78 percent) male premiers and two female premiers (22 percent).
    Cabinet is where women's representation should be equal to that of men as the President has absolute control. But women now constitute 15 (41 percent) of the 37-member cabinet, and 16 (44 percent) of the 36 deputy ministers.
    Just before the elections, the national assembly passed the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill. If approved by the National Council of Provinces, the bill will oblige both public and private entities to ensure gender parity. South Africa could have made a head start with its just ended elections. "Missing the mark at this place and time sends out the sad message that patriarchy is still alive and well," noted Lowe Morna.
    - For more information about the Gender Summit underway as well as the figures of women in government, contact Katherine Robinson on 076 227 6517. A multimedia newsletter with pieces suitable for online radio, video will be sent out for your usage shortly.
    Katherine Robinson
  • Young Voices Absent in Swazi Media

    According to new research by Swaziland's Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in partnership with child rights NGO Save the Children, children and young people's voices in Swaziland's media are heard in only eight percent of the stories that are about them.

    The two organisations monitored the country’s two daily newspapers - Times of Swaziland and Swazi Observer - from 22 May to 2 June 2013 and during this period, the Times of Swaziland published 42 stories about (or involving) children or young people.

    The research found that of those 42 stories about children / young people, only three stories (seven percent) included the voice a child / young person.

    To read the article titled, “Youth voice absent in Swazi media – MISA research,” click here.

    All Africa
  • NGO to Amplify Women’s Voices

    Edinah Masanga, who worked as a journalist for a decade, has launched the Women Empowerment Foundation Scribes Africa (WEFSA) in Zimbabwe in a bid to amplify women's voices.

    Masanga notes that women are still seen as a minority in journalism worldwide and that they all go through the same experiences, including unethical practices such as sexual harassment, discrimination, while exclusion continues to be a challenge for women in this profession.

    She states that WEFSA is built on real life and personal experiences by female journalists in newsrooms to advocate for issues of women and media from outside the confines of the newsrooms.

    To read the article titled, “Female journalists marginalised,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Call for More Women Judges in ConCourt

    Former Constitutional Court Justice, Zak Yacoob, hopes President Jacob Zuma will reject an all-male list of candidates to replace him.

    Yacoob criticises Zuma for not "taking the importance of appointing women to court seriously enough", adding that the president has the power, in terms of the Constitution, to ask for additional names.

    He argues that, "Whatever the JSC [Judicial Service Commission] does, I would hope the president would say to the JSC: 'I want more names. Go find them'."

    To read the article titled, “Yacoob hopes for more women in Constitutional Court,” click here.

    Mail & Guardian
  • Malawi Unlikely to Achieve 50/50 by 2015

    A recent study by Women in Politics and Decision Making Permanent Committee (WPDM PC) has revealed that women representation in decision-making positions is very low in many institutions in Malawi.

    Chairperson of WPDM PC, which is under Gender Coordination Network (GCN), Emmie Chanika, disclosed that some institutions are not aware of gender instruments that seek to promote women’s representations and participation in decision-making.

    Chanika explains that the report had singled out minimal qualifications held by women in the country which bars them from competing with their male counterpart, more drop-outs of females from colleges and some jobs like construction as some of the reasons behind unsuccessful of the campaign.

    To read the article titled, “Malawi far to achieve 50/50 campaign by 2015- CSOs,” click here.

    Nyasa Times
  • Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill Reaching Final Stage

    The Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, says the Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill is almost ready to go to Cabinet.

    Xingwana says the Bill, which is expected to make gender equity in the private and public sector mandatory, will enable government to come up with sanctions and measures that will ensure companies, organisations and political parties comply.

    "South Africa has made commitments through the Constitution, various pieces of legislation, and international conventions to respect, promote, protect, and advance the rights of women. We have a duty and obligation to honour these commitments," she explains.

    To read the article titled, “Gender Bill coming soon,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • Women on the Decrease in Local Govt

    President Jacob Zuma says that women's representation in local government has decreased after the 2011 elections.

    Zuma says this is despite the increase in representation of women in Parliament from 2.7 percent during apartheid to 27 percent after 1994.

    Addressing the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa conference in Mthatha, he pointed out that, "The country missed the opportunity at these elections to advance local government towards a 50/50 gender parity."

    To read the article titled, “Fewer women in local government: Zuma,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • Low Female Representation in New Cabinet Irks NGO

    Malawi's NGO Gender Coordination Network has expressed concern over low female representation in President Joyce Banda's cabinet, in which out of 30 ministers and deputies, only eight are female.

    The organisation’s chairperson, Emma Kalia, has been quoted as saying that the low representation of female ministers in the new cabinet is contrary to the Southern African Development Community and Africa Union regulations that call for equal opportunities between men and women.

    Kalia further argues that the number of female ministers in the cabinet is getting lower and lower, adding that, currently, there are six female ministers and two deputies against 16 male ministers and seven male deputies.

    To read the article titled, “Low female representation in new cabinet irks NGO,” click here.

    All Africa
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