2. Context and theory of change
Women and girls in Southern Africa constitute the majority of the poor, the dispossessed, the unemployed, those living with HIV and AIDS, and experiencing gender violence. Despite progressive Constitutions and laws in many countries, customary law relegates women to being second class citizens, under their fathers, husbands, and male relatives. Women lack voice in their homes, communities and in the public sphere. This is reflected in the persistent absence of women’s views and voices in media content and in all areas of decision‐making.
GL coordinates the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance, a coalition of 25 independently registered gender NGOs and NGO networks that successfully campaigned for the elevation of the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development into a more legally binding Protocol in August 2008 soon after the start of this project. This unique sub‐regional instrument brings together all existing commitments to gender equality and sets specific targets, indicators and timeframes for achieving these. By 2015 governments must endeavour to: achieve gender parity in all areas of decision‐making; amend Constitutions to reflect gender equality; halve gender violence; quantify and recognise the unwaged work of women, especially in relation to caring for those living with AIDS; as well as ensure gender equality in and through the media.