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Constituting Gender Equality: International Lessons Professor Georgina Waylen University of Manchester Feb 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Constituting Gender Equality: International Lessons Professor Georgina Waylen University of Manchester Feb 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Constituting Gender Equality: International Lessons Professor Georgina Waylen University of Manchester Feb 2013

2 Constituting Gender Equality: International Lessons Consider constitutional reforms that took place as part of bigger processes of political transformation (transitions to democracy between 1970s-90s) Question: under what circumstances can gender actors influence these processes? (rather than focus on content of reforms) What tactics/strategies have been employed? Are there any lessons/cautionary tales?

3 Structure of Presentation Look at 3 differing sets of cases with differing level of involvement by gender actors - ranging from virtually no involvement, to mainly lobbying from outside, to greater participation in processes (drawn from IDEA project). Focus particularly on 2 cases where gender actors were most active (Brazil and South Africa). Consider both context and strategies Lessons? Conclusions: Implications for the contemporary world?

4 Gender Exclusion 2 Cases – Ghana, Chile. Ghana – few women’s organizations in existence or attempts to influence top–down process when Rawlings created consultative assembly in 1991 at beginning of drawn-out transition from above. Chile – women played no part in design of military constitution of 1981 (Constitution of Liberty). But despite an active organized women’s movement, also no part in minimal and secret, closed constitutional renegotiations that took place between plebiscite in 1988 and elections in 1989.

5 Gender Lobbying Cases: Spain, The Philippines Spain – constitution designed by parliament as constitutional assembly in 1977/8. Few women involved but feminists lobbied from outside – clauses on equality and divorce included but not RR and rules of primogenitor Philippines – few women (>15%) in Aquino- appointed Consultative Assembly in 1986 but feminist organizations like Gabriela lobbied from outside. A (toned down) equality clause included but also right to life clause.

6 Gender Inclusion: Brazil 2 Cases: Brazil and South Africa Brazil – parliament acted as constitutional assembly Women members active inside (caucusing) and outside assembly. CNDM co- ordinated women’s orgs to pressure assembly eg women’s letter. According to Pitanguy 80% of demands included and right to life clause prevented.

7 Gender Inclusion: South Africa Process of design took several stages: !st Stage: Prior to negotiations – organized women in and outside ANC had considered the constitution (as had ANC). 2 nd Stage: Negotiations 2 phases were elite-led multi and bilateral (some secret). few women were involved in initial negotiations (CODESA). Protests WNC formed in part to ensure gender incorporated into constitution.

8 South Africa (2) WNC lobbied 2 nd phase (MPNP) – aims: negotiating teams to include women, and constitution to include gender equality clause. WNC helped Women’s Caucus, monitored technical committees, prepared submissions. facilitated ‘triple alliance’. Interim Constitution included equality clause (and customary law subject to it after battle). 3 rd Stage: Parliament as Constitutional Assembly finalised constitution 94-96; included progressive Bill of Rights and more specific gender clauses. Also included a period of public consultation (1.7m suggestions).

9 Lessons? Importance of women organizing prior to transition and constitutional negotiations and design. Experience of working together beforehand important (sometimes outlasted processes). Need to intervene into processes as early as possible using appropriate strategies and tactics (eg targeted lobbying, monitoring). Key actors. Important for creating alliances between women’s orgs (feminist and non feminist); alliances between women activists, politicians and academics; as well as with other actors in political parties, bureaucracies, governments.

10 Lessons (2) Need for programmes that broad coalitions could rally behind. And to have programmes worked out before intervention into processes. Context of transition important: how open are transition processes, and important actors like key political parties? Need for information, resources and support (including international support).

11 Conclusions: Implications for 2013? Changed contexts: Gender Actors in some previous transitions could frame demands in ways that resonated with dominant discourses of those transitions - gender rights as human rights, equality. Less possible today? Some influential sympathetic left wing parties had more power and influence over previous transitions. International gender climate was more favourable mid 1990s and post Beijing. Now more contestation and widespread backlash against a range of gender rights. Broad based alliances and coalitions less possible?


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