n Journal of African Elections - Partying along in silence violence against women and South African political party manifestos for the local government elections of May 2011




The high incidence of gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa, as well as its serious consequences, makes such violence a matter of central policy concern to women. Local government programmes provide ample scope for intervening in GBV. But to what extent do political parties recognise this local-level role? To explore this question the authors analysed the manifestos of seven political parties released prior to South Africa's 2011 local government elections, finding that, overall, parties offered few concrete and specific proposals for addressing GBV. The thinness of the manifestos, it is argued, illustrates the fact that the mere presence of women in political parties does not, in and of itself, automatically result in policies with gender content. In this context, mandating quotas only ensures that large numbers of female politicians are now championing gender-blind policies. Ultimately, attention must be paid both to parties' policies and to their quota of women politicians if meaningful change to womenâ??s lives is to be effected.


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