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of the women's movement in southern Africa
in Development Southern Africa Awareness (WIDSAA)
Extracted from Gender and Development Exchange Quarterly Newsletter
Issue 40 (October-December 2006)
assessment of the women's movement conducted in 13 SADC countries
has revealed that the movement has been losing its vibrancy since
At a roundtable
meeting on "Reinvigorating and Sustaining the Women's Movement
in Southern Africa", participants committed to embark on strategies
to rekindle the movement.
include broadening the constituency of the women's movement at the
national and regional levels, enhancing the visibility of the movement
and its successes, as well as reviewing the potential of establishing
a regional women's fund.
More than 100
delegates from the southern African region, representing organisations
and institutions that work on gender justice and the empowerment
of women, met from 9 - 11 October 2006 in Johannesburg, South Africa
to review the status of the movement and address challenges contributing
to its weakening.
The Open Society
Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), in partnership with the
SADC Parliamentary Forum, the Women and Law in Southern Africa Research
Trust (WLSA), the Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing
Countries (HIVOS), and the Women's Network Programme of the Open
Society Institute convened the two-day round table meeting.
support towards organisations working on women's rights and empowerment
issues was cited as one of the challenges contributing to the weakening
of the movement's vibrancy.
of the respondents interviewed during a research conducted in 2005
cited resource mobilisation as the biggest challenge to the vibrancy
and sustenance of the women's movement and programmes towards the
promotion of gender justice and women's empowerment.
cove red Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho,
Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland,
United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
of vibrancy also arises partly from the movement's pre-1995 success
in working with governments to ratify and agree to international
conventions and declarations, and adopting policies for women's
advancement and equal rights.
The most of
the respondents indicated that their organisations are receiving
less funding than five years ago, and that it is more difficult
to raise funds now for programmes than it was 10 years ago.
The Since the
1995 Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China, southern
Africa has moved faster than any other region in establishing progressive
policy frameworks and mechanisms to promote gender justice, equity
and the advancement of women.
include the 1997 SADC Declaration on Gender and Development, and
Addendum on the Prevention and Eradication of Violence Against Women
and Children in 1998, and the establishing of gender machineries
at the regional and national levels. The region is currently moving
towards the adoption of a Protocol on Gender and Development.
noted that while the region must celebrate the successes on the
establishment of positive gender policy frameworks, the women's
movement must not relax as there are still many challenges in ensuring
that the commitments enshrined in the good policy frameworks are
of the Women's movement was assessed according to the following
Women's movement - The women's movement is defined as a movement
to secure legal, economic, and social equality for women.
paper on the women's movement in Southern Africa by Professor Rudo
Gaidzanwa, OSISA, 2006
to push forward with the women's rights agenda . The effectiveness
of strategies in realising the women's rights agenda and in playing
a spearheading, challenging and watchdog/monitoring role.
- Level of
feminist orientation. The extent of recognition and action on
issues of gender discrimination, and structural gender inequality.
appropriateness. Reflecting women's aspirations, the representativeness
of organisations, their level of internal democratic management
and their degree of autonomy from other organisations.
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