An evaluation of the SADC gender and development protocol on equality, empowerment and gender based violence in South Africa (2008-2012)
Selebogo, Mothepane Yaliwe Petunia
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Southern Africa must confront a myriad of challenges as it attempts to address effectively the needs and aspirations of its hundred million people, 40 percent of whom live in extreme poverty with per capita incomes ranging from $256 per annum in Zimbabwe to $5099 in Mauritius. The greatest challenge of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) continues to be the need to build a life for its people free from poverty, diseases, human rights abuses, gender inequality and environmental degradation. Gender activists played a lead role in innuencing the development and adoption, on the 17 August 2008. of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. In 2005, they undertook comprehensive regional research on sector-specific gender equality issues and gaps. Following the adoption of the SADC Gender and Development Protocol, gender activists came together between 2005 and 2008 to form cross-border and national alliances to undertake a campaign to inl1uence the content of the Protocol, as well as lobby for its adoption. The adoption of the Gender and Development Protocol is one of the fastest in SADC Protocol history. This study is an evaluation of the SADC Gender and Development Protocol. focusing on gender eq uality, women's empowerment and the reduction of gender based violence in South Africa. The protocol has a direct bearing on all its signatories in both the "developed" and ''developing'' countries within the SADC region. Furthermore, this research focused only on South Africa, one SADC country, in order to evaluate the progress made since the adoption of the Protocol in 2008. The most salient progress has been made with regards to women's representation and participation in state and political governance. Target-setting within the structures of the Protocol greatly contributed to appointment and promotion of women into leadership and decision-making positions. The target of 50% representation of women has already been achieved in Cabinet, the National Assembly, Provincial Premiers, Provincial Council of Provinces and Provincial Legislatures. Policies. strategies and plans have been put in place to address gender based violence. Despite legislative reform, trends continue to indicate that in South Africa there is still a gender division of labour. Fear of gender-based violence on the one hand. and real life experiences of gender-based violence continue to be deterring factors that keep women from progressing and advancing in the workplace, in schools and institutions of learning in business and in governance.
- Humanities