The drop in the representation of women in local government confirms the need for laws on increasing the number of women in decision-making positions, the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities said on Tuesday.
“The ministry is disappointed at the decline in the percentage of women as councillors in the country from 40% in 2006 to 38% after the 2011 local government elections,” the department read.
According to Gender Links research and advocacy organisation, which analysed representation at the May local government elections, in 1995 representation of women in local government was at 19% overall; 29% in 2000; 40% in 2006 and then dropped two percentage points to 38% for May 2011.
Women’s Minister Lulu Xingwana said: “We are developing the necessary legislation which should compel all political parties to adhere to the principle of gender equality. The Gender Equality Bill will be submitted to Cabinet by March 2012 and it will also extend to the issue of employment and appointment of women to senior positions in both the public and private sector.”
Gender Links said a legislated quota was urgently required if South Africa was to meet its 2015 commitment in terms of the Southern African Development Community’s protocol on gender and development which calls for gender parity by that year.
Leaving it up to the political parties was “fraught with challenges”.