"Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression," - Nelson Mandela, first democratically elected President of South Africa.
1. Ensure that our understanding of gender as the Secretariat is deepened
Gender has gone beyond grammatical understanding of 'male', 'female' and 'neuter'. Gender is about relations of power between men and women, in which women are subordinated. There are various gender analysis tools and frameworks, which I think we should understand as development practitioners working with elected public representatives (parliamentarians) to ensure that SADCPF's Programmes are gender sensitive. As the Secretary General (SG) of the SADC-PF, working with Gender Program Manager, I will ensure that there are resources to continue building capacity of the Secretariat in this regard.
2. Monitor implementation of 'gender mainstreaming' across SADC-PF Policies and Practices
The SADC Declaration on Gender and Development signed by Heads of State and Government on the 8th of September 1997, highlights gender mainstreaming as a strategy to remove existing inequalities between men and women with the intention of empowering women. The SADC-PF 35TH Plenary Assembly Session held at Port Louis, in Mauritius adopted 'gender mainstreaming', as a strategy for gender equality. As the SG of the SADC-PF, I will monitor gender responsiveness of all SADC-PF's policies and practices, e.g. programmes, plans, reports, and budgets. I further commit myself to work hand in hand with SADC National Parliaments to ensure that every SADC-PF Mission has equal representation of men and women.
3. Support initiatives of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Women's Advancement and Youth Development(GEWAYD)
GEWAYD Standing Committee being a newly established Standing Committee at the SADC-PF is still finding its feet therefore needs support from the SG's Office. I will scale up my support and interest in the work of this Committee as some of its work is to support, and in some instances, initiate practices that challenge gender in equalities across SADC-PF, which at times might be faced with resistance.