Gender Rights


Gender inequality and gender-based violence are a matter of grave concern for the region. It includes sexual violence (e.g. rape, forced sex, marital rape) and a range of other practices (e.g. domestic violence, sexual coercion, intimate partner violence). In addition, school-related gender-based violence has received increasing attention such as homophobic bullying, sexual violence and targeted attacks.

The most recent monitoring update from the region captures key trends in realizing the rights of girls, women and gender equality.


  • Patriarchal attitudes are still abound
  • Gender violence remains the most telling indicator of women’s lack of rights and agency
  • Backward movement in elections with low levels of women’s representation
  • Economy is still a male preserve
  • Women lack a say in the decisions that affect their lives
  • HIV and AIDS continue to threaten the fragile gains that have been made – young women remain the majority of those new infected


  • Education and gender have shown great successes in Southern Africa
  • Tangible benefits of constitutional reviews
  • AIDS related deaths in the region have reduced by 32% since 2001
  •  A better understanding and holistic approach to gender-based violence with



The Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development (2008) sets important targets for 2015 in terms of education, health and gender equality. All of which have direct relevance to the ESA Commitment. The importance of incorporating issues related to gender in comprehensive sexuality education programmes is increasingly under the spotlight.

National strategic plans have committed to a rights-based approach and response to HIV. Increasingly, countries are introducing laws and policies that can help to eliminate stigma and discrimination.


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