SADC Focuses on Gender Role in Politics

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) parliamentarians have bemoaned the lack of gender parity in the political systems of some member countries at a plenary session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in Durban.

Speaker of the Lesotho parliament, Nthloi Motsamai, says, "We feel that women are an endangered species in the politics of Lesotho. By the look of things, one can tell that we are heading towards a situation where we are only going to have 20 women out of the 120 members in the House."

UN: Women Underrepresented in Politics

South Africa has slipped five positions to 10th on the latest Inter-Parliamentary Union’s list of Women in Parliament.

The Women in Politics Map launched on the sidelines of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, shows that although the numbers of women in government positions continues to inch forward, the slow rate of progress remains an impediment to global development and women’s empowerment.

The consensus is that progress is slow, with only 41 countries, including South Africa, where women make up more than 30 percent of seats in national legislatures.

Africa Lags in Uplifting Women: Zuma

President Jacob Zuma says the African continent is still faced with a deficit in women leadership.

Every year on the 8th March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to take stock of what has been achieved in relation to women emancipation.

Speaking at the Africa for African Women's conference in Port Elizabeth, Zuma says the continent is moving slowly in electing female presidents compared to other regions in the world.

Media Urged to Give Women Voices

Women Parliamentarians in Zimbabwe have urged the country to promote females in politics in order to bridge the gap between them and their male counterparts who hold the bulk of positions of authority in political parties and government.

The women decried lack of media attention and accused some sections of the media of always pulling them down through stereotyped coverage which portrayed them as less influential in the administration of the country.

SA Urged to Do More to Empower Women

Independent researcher and analyst, Nomboniso Gasa, says although South Africa has made progress in the advancement of women, more still needs to be done.

Gasa says strides have been made towards women advancement especially in the public sector where women are found in leadership positions.

She however, highlights that the private sector remains behind in ensuring that women are considered in leading positions, adding that institutions in the private sector should be structurally designed for the inclusion of women.

Call for Women to Claim their Place

Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela states that it is time for women to claim their place at the main table where Africa’s fate is being decided, where decisions on distribution of resources are being made, and Africa’s contribution to the fate of the world as a whole is being determined.

Speaking at the Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government awards, Madonsela warned that shying away women would be dishonouring the women who came before them and failing to provide an example to the girl child.

Women Participation Key to Growth

Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former United States first lady and secretary of state believes the full participation of women and girls is the great unfinished business of the 21st Century.

Speaking at a high level event at this year's Commission on the Status of Women, Clinton stated that, “We know that the only way to achieve broad based growth and broad based prosperity in an interdependent world is to build economies and societies that work for everyone and include everyone.”

Women Grossly Under-Represented in International Politics

Strategies to increase women’s participation in politics have been advanced through conventions, protocols and international agreements for gender mainstreaming, but they are yet to prove effective in achieving gender parity in the highest government rankings. The latest data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union show that globally, women account for an average of about 20 percent of parliamentary seats.

50/50 by 2015 Remains an Elusive Dream

It may have been just a four percentage point drop in women’s representation in parliament in the May 2014 South African elections. But that drop sent tremors across a region hoping to at least show some progress on this front by 2015, the deadline year for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, signed here in 2008.

On 9 August - Women’s Day in South Africa – it is a sobering thought that we not only let ourselves down by failing to reach gender parity in one key area of decision-making: we took all of SADC down with us.


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