This publication, commissioned by the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (Sida), is one of a range of initiatives to promote gender equality within Sida’s development co-operation programmes. Sida?s Action Plan for Gender Equality states that ?Women and men shall enjoy equal rights, obligations and opportunities in all sectors of society. For equality to be attained, sharing of both power and responsibility between men and women is required? (ibid.). The focus has shifted from attention to women, to ?women and men? and the relations between them, and efforts to achieve equality are now ?mainstreamed? across Sida?s programmes.
The case for a focus on gender relations and inequality, rather than women, is particularly clear in the South African context: a strategy that focuses on women to the exclusion of their social, political and economic relations with men is unlikely to succeed. The South African Government has made legally binding commitments to uphold and promote gender equality and has established a comprehensive national machinery to implement and monitor these commitments.
This publication aims to provide an understanding of gender inequality issues in South Africa as an input into the process of developing a new country strategy for Sida?s development co-operation from 1999. While the initial audience for the report is the personnel of Sida, it is intended that it should have wide circulation and act as a resource for people within as well as outside South Africa concerned with gender inequality