Gender Equality and Local Elections: Gender Mainstreaming, Party Manifestos, Party Lists and Municipal Planning

Women’s representation and participation in political parties and governance processes require examination. South Africa is a signatory of the 2008
SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, which commits member states to put in place measures to bring about 50% representation for women in
decision-making positions by 2015. This article draws on research findings and interventions undertaken by the South African Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) to raise issues relating to gender equality, women’s political representation and municipal gender mainstreaming and service delivery in relation to the May 2011 local government elections in South Africa. CGE research findings include an analysis of political party lists in terms of women’s representation, the gender mainstreaming in a sample of political party manifestos and an analysis of gender mainstreaming in a sample of municipal integrated development plans (IDPs). The CGE enquiry focuses on the extent to which the gendered needs of communities, and constitutional and legislative prescripts, inform and are prioritised in these IDPs. The CGE’s interest centres on the gendered aspects of poverty, inequality and local social and economic development. CGE research points to poor representation of women in positions of leadership, despite the country’s commitment to the 2015 protocol. In addition, there is evidence of gender insensitivity and a lack of gender transformation within political parties and inadequate internal policies and programmes to promote and support women and address issues such as sexual harassment. Recommendations point to the need for legislation on the 50% quota to compel parties to enact measures to encourage and promote women’s participation and leadership and ensure their equitable representation on party lists.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), COPE, Democratic Alliance (DA), IDPs, Inkatha Freedom party (IFP), quota system, United Democratic Movement (UDM)
journal of african elections vol11 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa