Feminist Governance

The Women and Democracy Initiative is based at the Dullah Omar Institute at UWC. We identify as feminist, taking an intersectional approach to our work on realising social justice through active political participation of the public in the context of a participatory and deliberative democracy. It is in this context that we use womxn with an X to be more inclusive and cognisant of gender as being non- binary.

This project on tracking Feminist Governance aims to increase a political focus on realising womxn’s and gender rights through infusing systematic feminist analysis and strategy into questions of governance and political leadership. The project commenced prior to the May 2019 National elections with an analysis of the election manifestos of the ANC, DA, EFF and a smaller political party with a specific focus on womxn – Women Forward. Using a feminist framework and intersectional lens we considered how, if at all, the manifestos and track records translate in practical ways for young and old womxn and non-binary people in particular.

In the second leg of this project we use the same feminist framework to consider how government departments’ annual performance plans and budget vote speeches speak to the lived realities of womxn.

Our project thus aims to take the questions beyond only what political parties, political representatives and government departments are saying on issues commonly defined as gendered or ‘women’s issues’ such as gender-based violence and womxn’s representation. We aim to delve further into questions of how these role-players have addressed a gendered or womxn’s agenda throughout their manifestos, departmental plans and budgets for the 2019/20 financial year.

The project aims to increase public pressure on political office bearers and departments to be more responsive to a feminist agenda for political leadership that embodies the values of the Constitution towards realising womxn’s civil, political and socio-economic rights and gender justice.

Disclosure of funding: The project was supported by funding from the Open Society Foundation – South Africa, the Ford Foundation and the Heinrich Boell Foundation – the views and opinions expressed are those of the Women and Democracy Initiative authors and do not reflect the positions of our funders.

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