Sonke Gender Justice is helping to build government’s capacity to implement initiatives that promote gender equality, empower women and engage men.
Why Work with Government?
South Africa has a history of activism, and Sonke Gender Justice believes that engaging proactively with government not only ensures that government remains accountable, but also helps government to be more effective.
All spheres of the South African government have an obligation to promote gender equality. This responsibility has been articulated in numerous government policies and international commitments. Sonke Gender Justice aims to help government meet these responsibilities by strengthening the capacity of National, Provincial and Local Government.
Government’s Role in Promoting Gender Equality
The South African Constitution “affirms the right of everyone to be equal before the law and to the equal protection and benefit of the law” (section 9(1)). The Constitution also states that “Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right (a) to make decisions concerning reproduction; and (b) to security in and control over their body”.
These rights explicitly demand that women should be treated equally and should be protected from gender-based violence. The various arms of the South African Government are required to prevent people from violating these rights, and are required to take proactive measures to ensure that real equality is achieved in this country. Since 1994 a number of important policies and legislative frameworks have been put into effect to promote gender equality. The National Policy Framework for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality was approved by Cabinet in 2002 and defines roles and responsibilities related to gender for government representatives at all levels of government at the national, provincial and local level.
Sonke Gender Justice Involvement
Sonke Gender Justice is building leadership and capacity in government by:
- Engaging in research.
- Building leadership and capacity within in National Government through training and partnerships.
- Building leadership and capacity at Local and Provincial level through training, workshops and ongoing support.
- Promoting coordination and integration within National Gender Machinery by providing training and support.
- Running men and HIV services advocacy campaigns which promote HIV services and support accelerated roll-out of comprehensive circumcision approaches.