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

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Categories: Journal of African Elections
journal of african elections vol11 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa