women's rights

women's rights

  • Undocumented Migrants Raped and Robbed in Musina, IOM

    Research undertaken by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) has found that 50 percent of undocumented migrants have experienced rape and robbery in Musina.

    “Migrants, particularly undocumented ones, are vulnerable to various kinds of abuse, and the majority of the victims do not report the cases to the police, either because of fear of arrest or they simply do not know where to seek assistance”, says IOM’s Yuki Kushimiro.

    Kushimiro argues that IOM has anecdotal evidence which shows that women and children are forced to sell their bodies in return for a plate of food and little cash to secure their stay in South Africa.

    To read the article titled, “Migrants abused in Musina,” click here.

    <br /> Sowetan
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  • Gender Activists Criticise Botswana Over Traditional Brews

    Gender activists at the Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organisation Organisations (BOCONGO) have described governments move to regulate traditional brews as “crazy.” 

    BOCONGO’s Maungo Mooki says that this will result in loss of income for many families. Mooki states that the majority of traditional brewers are women who need the money to send their children to school and keep their families going.
    Mooki has expressed her disappointment with that country’s government for not signing the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Gender Protocol on the grounds that it does not believe in affirmative action. "Our government is hyprocrite," says Mooki.

    Meanwhile, Antony Morima from Botswana National Youth Council is also accusing the government of turning a blind eye to disparities between the lower ranks and management of big companies like Debswana.
    To read the article titled, “Hands off traditional brew – women,” click here.

    <br /> All Africa
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  • CHR: Gender Equality

    The University of Pretoria's Centre for Human Rights (CHR) is conducting a course on Gender Equality from 7-11 September 2009 in Pretoria.

    The latest developments with regard to gender equality and the implications thereof for the women of Africa are examined in this course.

    Issues dealt with are:

    • The development and implementation of human rights instruments
    • Policies and best practices aimed at promoting gender equality at global, regional and national levels
    • Gender-based violence and harmful practices
    • Contemporary developments impacting on gender equality such as HIV/AIDS, participation in decision making, the role of women in peace-keeping, women as refugees
    • Case studies on gender and sex discrimination
    • Gender mainstreaming
    In this general course on good governance, emphasis is placed on the linkage between human rights, public administration and effective and responsible service delivery. 

     The following topics are covered:
    • ICT and good governance 
    • Good governance and the private sector 
    • Anti-corruption measures in both public and private sectors 
    • Policy and policy implementation 
    • Ethical governance 
    • Good governance and the financial services sector 
    • Gender and good governance 
    • Politics and good governance 
    • Introduction to human rights
    For more information and to register, click here.
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  • Training: Promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in employment

    Programme outline

    Day one:
    08: 00 Registration and early morning Coffee

    Explain and use terminology related to gender equality and women’s empowerment

    • Gender equality and women’s empowerment terminology
    • Differences or similarities between gender equality and women’s empowerment
    • Terminology which supports behaviours, attitudes and values that enhances understanding of gender

    Demonstrating an understanding of the relationships between race, class and genders and how the impact on gender inequality and discrimination in the workplace

    • The relationships and intersections between racial, gender and class discrimination
    • Racial, gender and class discrimination is explained with regard to how they relate to each other
    • The role of media in reinforcing gender discrimination is analysed using practical examples
    • Legislation and broad framework for redress of gender inequality in SA

    16h30 End of day One

    Day Two:
    08: 00 Registrations and Early Morning Coffee

    Collect and prepare information on gender issues in a workplace

    • Resources and structures are identified to collect information
    • Strategies based on information prepared to reduce gender inequality
    • Information collected and prepared to reflect the needs and interest of workers
    • Communication tools to sensitise workers about gender
    Identify strategies and techniques to transform discriminatory practices in the workplace
    • Discriminatory practices in the workplace
    • Mechanism through which women’s empowerment within a workplace.

    16h00 End of Day Two

    Day Three:
    Negotiate collective agreements that aim to transform discrimination and promote women’s empowerment

    • Discriminatory case to be presented at a formal hearing is prepared using procedures
    • An agreement with an employee is negotiated to achieve empowerment opportunities for women
    • Outcomes of discrimination cases and empowerment negotiations are examined and reviewing of trade union policy and procedures.

    Evaluation forms to be completed
    16h00 Facilitator’s closing remark and end of day three

    Programme outcome

    • gender
    • Gender equality
    • Gender awareness
    • Gender issues
    • Gender pay gap
    • Gender equity
    • Empowerment
    • Oppression
    • Gender Role
    • Gender structure in government
    Programme Benefits

    On completion of this programme, the learner is able to:
    • Explain and using terminology related to gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
    • Demonstrating an understanding of the relationships between race, class and genders and how the impact on gender inequality and discrimination in the workplace
    • Identify, collect and prepare information on gender issues in a workplace or company
    • Promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and values through the identification and transformation of discriminatory practices in the workplace
    • Negotiate to ensure that collective agreements aim to transform discrimination and actively promote and foster women empowerment
    Who Should Attend
    • Human Resource Managers
    • Equity Manager
    • Diversity Managers
    • Gender Specialitist
    • Gender Activists
    • Managers
    • Programme staff
    The total amount per delegate amount to R8500.00.-the fee covers the manual, refreshment and lunch. Accomodation and dinner will be the responsibility of the delegate
    • Register now or before 13 February 2009 for the training on the 18-20 February 2009
    • Register now or before 18 February 2009 for the training of the 25-27 Feb 2009
    • Course fee- (Vat Exclusive)
    • Additional 10 percent discount per delegate if an organisation send five or more delegates
    • Registration should be done by  requesting the order forms from Letlhogela through the following channels:
    1. E-mail to Letlhogela.info@gmail.com
    2. Telephone Tshego @ 082 322 5925 or 011 941 2599
    3. Fax 011 942 5548



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  • CGE to Investigate Sexwale Over Witchcraft Remarks

    The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) is investigating African National Congress national executive committee member Tokyo Sexwale, for his alleged derogatory statements.

    CGE chairperson, Nomboniso Gasa says, “If Mr Sexwale indeed said that, we call on him to retract or apologise for the statements.” Gasa has described the statements as “irresponsible and regrettable”.

    Sexwale allegedly accused Congress of the People ofusing women for “witchcraft” to win votes. He was apparently referring to former President Thabo Mbeki’s mother Epainette, and two other elders in the organisation.

    To read the article titled, “Sexwale to be investigated, Malema next,” click here.

    <br /> The Citizen
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  • African Sex Worker Conference Gets Underway in Johannesburg

    Sex workers from all around Africa are planning to gather this week at an African Sex Worker Conference, which is aimed at exploring ways to enhance their capacity to defend their human rights.

    Organisers say the conference will deal with issues of law and law enforcement including how to decrease the number of arbitrary arrests; how to get legal recourse for police brutality and state-sanctioned violence; and how to advocate for the decriminalisation of sex work.

    The conference will also discuss labour issues including how to make working environments safer and how to increase the bargaining power of sex workers with their clients. It will also discuss how to guarantee that sex workers are treated fairly by their employers.

    To read the article titled, “Sex workers to convene in Jhb,” click here.

    <br /> News24
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  • Women’sNet: Citizen Journalism Workshop

    Women’sNet is a South African based non-governmental organisation that works to advance gender equality. Our work focuses on the intersection between gender and information and communication technologies (ICTs).

    Women’sNet is conducting the Citizen Journalism Workshop from 9-12 February 2009 in Cape Town. The workshop will focus on training activists, civil society and community media journalists.

    The overall objective of the project is to

    • Increase the capacity of civil society to use media to support their social change efforts, thereby enabling civil society organisations to provide diverse, critical, reliable and relevant information that democracy requires.

    The goals of the project are

    • To contribute to the vibrancy and sustainability of the media in general by enabling a culture of debate, information sharing and engagement through our work with civil society
    • Increase the capacity of civil society actors and human rights activists to use ICTs as a tool for information generation and dissemination
    • Increase the capacity of civil society actors and human rights activists express their approaches and opinion, and to produce content that is engaging, relevant and critical, 
    • To increase the diversity of voice and issues available to South African media actors, and South Africans in general and to increase engagement by the public in content developed by civil society
    • To deepen democracy though vibrant engagement prompted through citizen media

    Dates: 9–12 February 2009

    Time: 9h30 – 16h30 (Lunch will be provided)

    Venue: Cape Town CBD (to be confirmed)

    RSVP: Eva Ramokobala, email: eva@womensnet.org.za

    For more information on Women’sNet, click here.

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  • SWEAT: African Sex Worker Conference

    Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) is a NGO that works with sex workers around health and human rights. SWEAT is hosting the African Sexworker Conference from 3-5 February 2009 in Johannesburg.

    The conference will bring together sex workers, sex worker organisations, advocates, and supporters from across Eastern, Western and Southern Africa to share their knowledge and expertise on specific sex worker issues that cut across Africa’s countries and regions.

    These include but are not limited to

    • Definitions and understandings of sex work
    • Stigma and discrimination Sex workers’ human rights
    • Criminalisation and structural violence
    • Police brutality and arbitrary arrest
    • Abuse, violence, and exploitation within the sex industry
    • Health risks, access to health care services and facilities, and sexual and reproductive health rights
    • Diversity, representation, and collectivisation

    The conference takes a rights-based approach to sex work issues and advocates that all sex workers are human rights defenders. Therefore, sex workers will lead the conference, alliance, and movement, so that sex workers are in charge of their own civil, economic, social, cultural, and political development and progress. The conference represents a unique opportunity for active, meaningful, and unified participation from sex workers of different backgrounds.

    The conference will explore the ways in which sex workers can organise themselves: why it is important to unite and collectivise; how to find safe spaces for sex workers to assemble; and how to manage national, regional, and global sex worker-led movements.

    This conference represents an immense opportunity to make a positive change in people’s lives, not only for sex workers, but also for their children and other dependents. It can improve the well-being of communities and empower other marginalised groups. The conference is a way of legitimising democracy, diversity, and development. It can demonstrate that violating a sex worker’s human rights is only one step away from violating anyone and everyone’s human rights.

    Conference organisers

    • Sisonke – South African sex worker movement
    • Sex workers from Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
    • Sex worker organisations and Organisations with sex worker programmes and projects
    • Botswana Network on Ethics, Law, and HIV/AIDS – BONELA (Botswana)
    • Centre for the Development of People – CEDEP (Malawi)
    • Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe – GALZ (Zimbabwe)
    • International Centre for Reproductive Health – ICRHK (Kenya)
    • People Opposing Women’s Abuse – POWA (South Africa)
    • Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce – SWEAT (South Africa)
    • Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit – RHRU (South Africa)
    • The Rainbow Project – TRP (Namibia)
    • Uganda Coalition for Crisis Prevention – UCCP (Uganda)
    • Women’s Organisation Networking for Human Rights Advocacy WONETHA (Uganda)

    Dates: 3-5 February 2009

    Venue: Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit, Hugh Solomon Building,
    Cnr Esselen and Klein streets, Hillbrow, Johannesburg

    Contact Person: valda.lucas@sweat.org.za

    RSVP: mapaseka.vryman@sweat.org.za

    For more information on SWEAT, click here.

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  • Research and Training Institute on Women’s Rights and Citizenship 2009

    Invitation for Applications

    Political Studies at Wits University and the Women’s Rights and Citizenship Programme at IDRC are pleased to announce a Research and Training Institute on Women’s Rights and Citizenship, to be held from 22 June to 3 July 2009 and 22-29 November 2009 at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

    The aim of the Institute is to deepen the capacity of researchers to deploy feminist theories and methodologies in applied, policy-oriented research. The Institute has two components: a training institute (22 June – 3 July 2009), followed by a further week of training 22-29 November 2009), and seed funding to develop fully-fledged research proposals in the area of women’s rights, citizenship and governance in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Political Studies at Wits University and the Women’s Rights and Citizenship Programme invite applications from research teams of two to three African researchers based in African institutions, and working in the area of  gender, citizenship and governance.

    Research teams could be flexible in composition, for example a mix of university-based and NGO-based researchers, a senior researcher with a PhD and two Masters/ Doctoral level students, or exclusively university or NGO-based. Research teams could also cut across more than one institution, for example two research centres. Ideally, we would prefer that the team consist of a senior researcher with a PhD and two young researchers with four-year or Masters degrees. We particularly encourage women researchers to apply.

    All expenses (travel, accommodation and meals, and course materials) will be covered by the Institute. Successful participants will be provided with seed grants of CAD10 000 to conduct baseline research and develop full research proposals by 31 October 2009.

    Interested researchers should contact Nurina Ally (Nurina.Ally@wits.ac.za) for a detailed application package and further information. The deadline for applications is 16 March  2009.

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  • Taking a Closer Look at the Domestic Violence Act

    From 26-28 November 2008, the Centre for the Study of Violence of Reconciliation (CSVR) hosted the ‘South African Domestic Violence Act (DVA) Lessons from a Decade of Legislation and Implementation’ conference in Johannesburg. Attended by approximately 120 delegates came together to review the implementation of the DVA over the past 10 years.

    The DVA has been a focus of much activism amongst women’s rights activists. Monitoring its implementation has meant engaging with the criminal justice system –from police to prosecutors and the judiciary; addressing concerns around secondary victimisation due to untrained officials as well as the now infamous challenge to the constitutionality of the Act in Omar v Government, RSA and Others 2006 (2) BCLR 253 (CC).

    Speaking at the opening of the conference, executive director of the CSVR, Adele Kirsten said the timing of the conference is significant as “[It] allows us to look at what can be done differently in the next 10 years... Civil society has become fragmented, with organisations piggybacking on similar projects… [We need] more prevention and intervention strategies.”

    Domestic violence is a major developmental challenge across the world. It cuts across race, gender, age, class and ethnic differences. According to the Department of Justice’s Guidelines for the Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act for Magistrates, in South Africa it is considered the most common and pervasive human rights abuse in South Africa.

    The conference focused broadly on the following thematic areas: legislation and policy, services available for women experiencing domestic violence, the socio-cultural changes necessary to prevent domestic violence, working with perpetrators and the problematic public/private dichotomy of domestic violence.

    Wendy Isaack, legal advisor for People Opposing Women Abuse, legal advisor, expressed concern over the under-utilisation of international instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which South Africa ratified in 1995. Isaack said the lack of awareness about the provisions of CEDAW and its Optional Protocol, resulted in it not being used as it should. “There is an international obligation to protect women… CEDAW has jurisprudential value; it clarifies the duty of the state; it articulates due diligence standard of law”, she said.

    “Where does governments’ responsibility start, beyond the establishment of laws? How should state agents commit to changing the situation and start implementing the [Domestic Violence] Act?" Isaack asked.

    Joy Watson, a gender researcher working in Parliament, focused on the implementation of the DVA. She argued that the state has failed women in providing what she calls “proper victim-friendly services.” Watson questioned the competency and sensitivity of the state institutions, and said that while conducting her research, she found that victims had very bad experiences of the courts when reporting their cases.

    According to Watson, there is a lack of citizen-awareness and education, serious resource constraints, an enhanced vulnerability of poor women – particularly those in rural areas and a lack of support to women of domestic violence.

    “What are the implications of what we see women are saying? How are these voices being heard and are we assimilating what they are saying? In our lobbying activities, are we changing power dynamics and rendering patriarchal systems obsolete?" she asked.

    An important issue raised at the conference was the involvement of men’s organisations in eradicating domestic violence. Gender Commissioner at the Commission on Gender Equality, Bafana Khumalo argued that by working with men in the broader economic sector everyone- both men and women - will be able to access opportunities availed to them. “There is no cultural practice that says it is acceptable to beat up your partner; but that within these practices it is more evident that they are to be protected”, he said.

    Participants shared the work organisations are doing to eradicate domestic violence. These include shelters, raising awareness of protective rights amongst vulnerable groups by conducting workshops and assisting with the application of protection orders. While their work is commendable, there is only so much that can be done taking into consideration limited resources.

    Government should be accountable to the DVA and other legislation in place which advance women’s’ rights. Hopefully the next 10 years of implementing the DVA result in more successes than failures.

    - Nicolle Beeby is a programme assistant at SANGONeT.

    Nicolle Beeby
    Nicolle Beeby
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