Development: Are women drivers or passengers?
. . . from page 13
mode of gear, and is responsible for obeying road signs, takes care of pedestrians and makes sure that no accidents occur at least by his or her own deeds.
In 2008, the Southern African Development Community adopted a Gender and Development Protocol committing countries that by 2015, there shall be 50/50 gender equality in the decision-making levels and political representation. While an evaluation of Lesotho status quo in regards to this is yet to be made, can it be asked who adopted this protocol?
In the list of 14 SADC leaders signatory to this protocol, how many were female? After they had signed, what have they done in their home countries, both as direct leadership decisions and as institutional arrangement, to ensure that the road to 2015 is certain? There are several regional and global commitments that promote women’s cause but who set the targets and parameters? How different are those who set parameters from those who have to account on the progress?
At least the African Union elected as chair of its Commission, a female leader Nkosazana Dlamini-zuma against an experienced and well entrenched male guru. Perhaps Lesotho wants to sing along the same praise song and say the majority of female leaders listed above assumed executive positions and leadership post 2008.
But can it really be said that female leaders in those positions as well as those actively involved in various community oriented initiatives are making this a women’s world? Are women the drivers of development or passengers; are the female executives drivers or chauffeur-driven VIPS in the otherwise male-dominated development vehicle? Perhaps, as this question is explored, can it also be asked how is Senate David Gabashane Masupha not a Principal Chief of Ha ‘Mamathe? Is it not by the decision of palace of justice in this Kingdom guided by the laws embraced by the constitution?
Has this constitutional architecture making discrimination of females a norm ever been tackled since 2008 for an example within the SADC Protocol? Is this norm not only entrenched in the laws of Lesotho or also in the mentality and attitudes of males who rule and lead this country at various levels?
If such a bright young talent like Masupha cannot be a Principal Chief simply because she is female and that appears normal and fine for male leaders, is giving women positions of responsibility within this mind-set not a window dressing and an exhibition for international eyes? Are these women pursuing a gender agenda or male agenda within the confines of the established structures, policies, laws, institutions and attitudes? Is it not true that they are supported to pursue the ordinary agenda? Do they get the same support when they challenge the system?
When these questions are answered, maybe it would be determined whether women empowerment should start with understanding the nature of structural violence within this society and how it manifests or just do increase number of females in positions of responsibility. Why is it that the Reformed Lesotho Congress is the only among 23 political parties led by a female leader in this Kingdom?