The influence of culture on the implementation of the SADC protocol on gender 2008: A multi-case study on Namibia and Zimbabwe
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This study examined the influence of cultural practices on the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Gender, with reference to Namibia and Zimbabwe (2013-2016). There were four objectives in the research, which examined the provisions of the SADC Protocol on Gender, the implementation of the Protocol in Namibia and Zimbabwe, the cultural practices that hinder participation of women in leadership and to proffer options for ensuring more women representation in senior positions. The study was qualitative and data was collected from senior officials in the Ministries of Gender (Namibia and Zimbabwe), the SADC secretariat, Public Service Commission’s (Namibia and Zimbabwe), former and current Ambassadors and from female legislators. The research used documentary review and key informants as research instruments. The study established that the SADC Protocol on Gender had several progressive clauses and 23 targets, the main target being to ensure that women hold 50% of decision-making positions in the public and private sectors. It was discovered that there had been a significant increase in the number of women occupying senior government positions in both Namibia and Zimbabwe. The Zebra system (quota) was one of the main strategies for increasing women representation in leadership positions in government. The study showed that African society is still patriarchal and there are a number of retrogressive religious and cultural beliefs that hinder participation of women in leadership positions. In light of the research findings, several recommendations were made. The first key recommendation was that there is need for the active participation of Heads of States and Government in the implementation of the Gender protocol because they are responsible for appointing most senior government officials. Another suggestion was that there is need for cultural revolution and a change of mind-sets on the part of both men and women. The research also recommended that there should be advocacy so that the media portrays women positively. The last recommendation was that the quota system should also be used in all leadership positions in both government and private institutions.