SID and EASSI efforts towards a gender equality bill in East Africa

Recognizing the fact that attitudes and approaches that have served to marginalize women's issues and undermine the agenda of gender equity and equality are long established and well- entrenched within individual attitudes and governance structures, there is need for consistent, visible and advocacy and lobbying at both national and regional levels for the adoption of an East African Community (EAC) Gender, Equality and Development Bill.

In August 2008, the Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) undertook a project entitled, "Towards an East African Declaration on Gender Equality (EADGE)." The project culminated in the preparation of a Draft Gender, Equality and Development Bill in partnership with SID. The draft Bill is currently before the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and awaits to undergo the due process of the law before its enactment.

It is against this background that SID in conjunction with EASSI commissioned a study entitled "Strengthening Gender Justice in the EAC: The Cost and Implications of Lacking Regional Gender Legislation" to provide an evidence based advocacy tool on the social, political and economic costs of not having a binding regional legislation and what the implications are for the EAC.

SID and EASSI have managed to lobby stakeholders at all levels, from gender- focused CSOs, Ministries of Gender and related departments in all 5 countries as well the EAC Secretariat and EALA.  SID and EASSI have also made presentations at the express invitation of the EAC Secretary General as well as to the EALA Speaker and Committee Chairs of EALA. Subsequently, the draft of the research conducted on the "Strengthening Gender Justice within the EAC: The Cost & Implications of Lacking Regional Gender Legislation" has been presented to an audience of representatives from Associations of Women Parliamentarians at National and regional Level (EAC), Chapter Members from East African Legislative Assembly,  Ministries of EAC Affairs, Gender, Education, Health, Planning amongst others, EAC Gender Experts, Bureau of Statistics, Private Sector, Civil Societies, Law Societies and Academia who have attested that such evidence-based analysis will significantly be used as a viable tool for lobbying Partner States to enact into law the proposed Draft Bill.

From 8 to 14 December, 2015, SID and EASSI carried out four validation workshops of the above mentioned study in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Kampala (Uganda), Kigali (Rwanda) and Nairobi (Kenya).

See also

SID previous publication: Tracking Gender Equality Commitments in the East African Community

The book is the result of the joint initiative of SID and EASSI (Eastern African Sub Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women) which aimed at developing a regional monitoring and evaluation mechanism for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to ensure that the East African Community is accountable for the gender related committments entered into. The initiative emanated from a project undertaken by EASSI entitled 'Towards an East African Declaration on Gender Equality (EADGE)' which embarked on the developmet of a Gender Protocol for the region and a campaign for its adoption by EAC's partner states. 2013.

Photo: Olli Pitkanen/Flickr