Why wait for change when our collective voice gives us the majority? We’re reclaiming our power and saying it’s time to run for office – and get elected!
Did you know that 54.9% of voters in South Africa are women? On paper, this majority should yield serious negotiating power to drive policy change, bring about a real focus on gender equality and level the playing field. But it hasn’t.
DID YOU KNOW?
The average age in Africa today is 19, yet the 10 eldest presidents average 76 years old. Political leadership is experiencing a crisis of representation.*
Globally, women make up 49.7% of the population but hold only 22% of government and public offices.*
Why representation matters
‘With 54% of voters being women, we should have a female president, more women in leadership positions, at executive level, and more women who are active in key levels of the economy. Having insufficient women in Parliament or provincial legislatures or municipalities is a tragedy. However, it is the consequence of male oppression and the scramble for power. Women should not only be called upon for mobilisation and voting – they must be active participants in the economy’ says Magdalene Moonsamy, former EFF MP.
‘The struggles of women are of a quadruple nature – that of class, racism, sexism and economic exclusion. The aspect of sexism is an intricate one that, combined with other forms of oppression, must become the task of society at large and that of the courts to be sympathetic to women in light of abuse, maintenance and divorce.’
WHO HAS GENDER RIGHTS ON THEIR AGENDA?**
Follow our guide, sprinkled with tips from the women in power, to get involved now!
Get started, sign up, vote!
Since 1994, national and provincial elections have been taking place every five years. In less than a year, South Africans will be going to the polls to cast their votes in the national election.
To make your voice heard and your vote count:
- You need to be a South African citizen.
- You have to have a green barcoded ID book, smart ID card or valid temporary identity certificate.
- You need to register.
- You need to do so in person. Call your local IEC office to make an appointment to register (find their number at Elections.org.za).
If your party has a women’s league, join it! Here are a few links to get you started:
Politics 101 with Lindiwe Mazibuko
Here’s how to get started, get involved, and everything else you need to know. Hear it from Lindiwe Mazibuko, former South African Member of Parliament and the first black woman in the country to be elected Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.‘There’s a shortage of women in public office in Africa, and I don’t mean the quota number, I mean women in power in cities and at national levels.’
Read more here.
‘How I became an MP’
3 women in politics share their stories. Find out how to follow in their footsteps here.
‘There’s the history of patriarchy – women only seeing men in leadership positions. So we need to work on women seeing something different, seeing women like themselves in these positions. We need to change something that’s been programmed in us over a long time,’ says Leigh Mathys, EFF Treasurer. ‘Command your space as a woman and don’t downplay yourself. We don’t need to brag or start taking on masculine characteristics, but let’s own our space. Acknowledge. We must reconscientise ourselves as women.’
Read more good advice on how to bring in fundraising and which skills to perfect here.
*SOURCES: UNITED NATIONS, INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION, AFROBAROMETER & FOUNDATION FOR EUROPEAN PROGRESSIVE STUDIES, THE MILLENNIAL DIALOGUE