Devel­op­ment: Are women driv­ers or pas­sen­gers?

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. . . 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?

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