SADC ministers to review women representivity

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pretoria - Ministers responsible for Gender and Women Affairs in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will be reviewing progress made in improving representation of women in politics and decision-making positions in the region.

At least four SADC member-states, Angola, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa have held general elections over the past year, which adjusted the number of women represented in the executive and legislatures of respective countries.

Elections are currently underway in Mozambique while Namibia is expected to have its elections later this year.

SADC has set a target of 50/50 gender parity in all decision-making positions.

The meeting will also review progress in improving the economic status of women and efforts to address human trafficking affecting women and children in the region.

A study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that South Africa and Lesotho have leapt into the top ten ranking countries, where women face the least discrimination.

The WEF said on Tuesday that South Africa has jumped from 22 to number six, while Lesotho climbed from 16 to number 10 in the organisation's global gender gap index.

This is a study which measures economic participation and opportunities, education attainment, political empowerment, health and the survival of women in 134 countries.

"The latest data reveals that South Africa makes significant improvements in female labour force participation in addition to gains for women in parliament and in ministerial positions in the new government," said the WEF.

South Africa was also ranked first in the world for employment opportunities for professional and technical females workers, enrolment in primary education, secondary education and tertiary education.

The country has the second best ratio in the world of women in parliament, and the fifth best ratio of women in ministerial positions.