Declaration on Gender & Development 1997

Date Signed

Gender equality is a fundamental human right. While the Member States of SADC aim to raise the status of women to that of men, a disparity remains throughout Southern Africa in terms of legal rights, power sharing and decision-making, and access to productive resources and education. Therefore, SADC signed the Declaration on Gender and Development on 8th September 1997 to promote closer regional cooperation and collective action as a means of fostering gender equality.

The Declaration reaffirms SADC’s commitment to eliminating gender discrimination and mainstreaming gender issues in Southern Africa. Through the Declaration, Member States agree to establish policy and institutional frameworks for advancing gender equality, to set up advisory systems with government and non-governmental organisations to monitor gender issues, and to create a Gender Unit within the SADC Secretariat. These measures are intended to place gender issues at the forefront of the SADC Programme of Action and Community Building Initiative, thereby leading to amendment of laws that discriminate against women, improvement of access to productive resources, and protection of human rights.