SDG Goal 5 – Achieving gender equality and empower women and girls – 14 September 2016

Francisca Mdleleni, SALO’s Operations Manager and Mr Themba Kalua, UN Women Multi-Country Office Deputy Representative

On 14th September 2016, SALO attended the National Consultative Roundtable on Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG Goal 5)  that was organised by Ilitha Labantu organisation in Cape Town.

The roundtable was addressed by the Ilitha Labantu founder, Ms Mandisa Monakali and Mr Themba Kalua, UN Women Multi-Country Office Deputy Representative among other speakers.

Some of the issues raised as far as SDG Goal 5 is concerned:-

–          Women still face a lot of discrimination due to many societal factors.  There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to achieve SDG goal 5.

–          Some of the problems/challenges cited as facing women and girls were:-

  • Many women and girl children are still abused in their own homes, at school and it is even more precarious for women/girls with disability.
  • Lack of proper facilities to cater for women/girls at many institutions eg at the police stations, where police are not adequately trained to deal with women matters.
  • Girls in rural areas still have to walk long distances and on unsafe roads/paths to schools
  • Many girls still miss school every month due to lack of sanitary towels.
  • lack of support from other women

Some of the things that need to be done in order to achieve gender equality and empower women

–          Encourage women to support each other and also try to get rid of the Pull Down Syndrome (Phd syndrome)

–          Create regular space for families to come together and learn things as a family eg encourage women to bring along their daughters to workshops dealing with women issues.

–          Involve women in peace processes/matters.

–          Need to develop our own framework using the UN language of Women, Peace, Security and Access to justice.  The UN language was designed for women in the countries in conflict but we also have local conflicts which can lead to injustices in the society eg lack of a street light can lead to a woman being attacked in the street. If women are involved in the local committee structures, they would be able to tackle these kind of issues which lead to injustices to their own.

–          Create user friendly environment for those institutions that deal with women/girl issues for example:-

  • Provide proper training to Police staff dealing with women issues.
  • Make the school a positive learning environment for girls (the issue of girls from poor homesteads skipping schools every month has been a real concern).  The government and institutions have to look for ways to ensure that all girls attend school without missing any day.
  • Make tough laws for those who are found to molest girls and women.
  • Capacitate women care givers/midwives in rural areas to ensure that women in rural areas get adequate health care.
  • Women in leadership positions should try to link up with those in grassroots levels so as to impart their knowledge and skills to their counterparts in the grassroots levels thus afford continuity of skills.

Way forward:

–          More of these roundtable discussions need to take place and if possible bring our girls along

–          It is important for everyone attending these discussions  go out and make small changes in society as far as Goal 5 is concerned rather than wait until there are big workshops and come and discuss issues.