Saturday, August 08, 2009

Could This South African Document Inspire Kenyan Women?

August 9th is celebrated as South Africa Women's Day and actually kicks off an entire month celebrating the achievements and highlighting the aspirations of women in South Africa. Kenyans have some ways to go before they scale the heights that South African and Rwandan women have reached. Instead of unleashing a polemic, I want to reproduce this document that I gleaned from the ANC website:

The Founding document of the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa


We, as South African Women: -

Declare our aim of striving for the removal of all laws, regulations, conventions and customs that discriminate against us as women and deprive us in any way of our inherent right to the advantages, responsibilities and opportunities that society offers to any one section of the population. (Quoted from the Women's Charter adopted in 1954)

We Recognise: -

1. The changes that have been brought by the new dispensation in our country. Democracy has put a progressive government in power and the constitution of our country treats women as equal to men as stipulated in section 9 of the Bill of Rights, it has also provided us with Chapter 9 Institutions that have been put into place to ensure that there is gender equality in this country.
2. There is access to resources; women are now put in decision-making structures. However, our unjust past impacts negatively on women's access to economic, social and political justice and equal protection and benefit from the law.
3. The social consequences of our unjust past continue to undermine equal enjoyment of all fundamental rights and freedoms.

Further Recognising that: -

Women need to articulate clear analysis of the links between gender relations and systemic and persistent crisis in social reproduction, human security and governance.

Whereas we: -

1. Are committed to the advancement and empowerment and emancipation of women in order to achieve gender equality in economic, social, political, cultural and personal dimensions.
2. Are committed to the protection and the promotion of fundamental human rights and equality before the law as enunciated in the Constitution and relevant international instruments.

Noting that: -

* As South Africans we come from a history of legalised and institutionalised injustice based on race, class, religion, gender and other factors.
* Patriarchy is so deeply embedded in all spheres of our lives from the family, media, education, work, state including the judiciary and all other institutions.

We Commit Ourselves to: -

1. Advance the struggle for women's emancipation, gender equality, and power relations.
2. The eradication of gender discrimination and other forms of inequality or abuse in all spheres of life; and
3. A women's movement for global justice and development.

We Further Commit Ourselves to: -

4. Encourage and promote the role of women in all the spheres of the society and the protection of fundamental human rights and women's rights in particular.
5. Promote unity and co-operation among all women in the country.

Section 1: Name

The name of the organisation shall be Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa

Section 2: Objectives

The objectives of the Movement are to:

2.1 Unite the women of South Africa in diversity and in action. We must ensure that we have a minimum platform of action so as to sustain this unity.

2.1.1 Finding a model of human security that does not strip women of their human rights which will help to help the women who seek peace and justice to understand that this model can be achieved by addressing issues of racism and class, and the sexism that is integral to both.

2.1.2 Highlighting the linkages between social, economic, political and cultural conditions.

2.1.3 Propose alternative ways of exercising power and distributing resources, and defining how society might be organised if it was grounded in feminist values.

2.1.4 Finding sources of finance that are supportive of women and of feminist organisations at local, provincial, regional and national level.

2.2 Deepen democracy, so as to ensure that we fight patriarchy. Some of institutions that we have been able to access still maintain the culture, values and norms of a patriarchal society and the movement must enable us to fight these atrocities and the demon of patriarchal society and the movement must enable us to fight these atrocities and the demon of patriarchy that is in the family, church, government institution, judiciary etc. through all forms of struggle.

2.2.1 Create space where the intellectual and strategic work necessary for the strengthening of local women's organisations can take place.

2.2.2 To ensure that we fight patriarchy and strengthen gender equality in our society

2.2.3 Contribute to strengthening the larger movement for global justice:

* With women within and outside PWMSA;
* With young women;
* With mainstream NGOs and social movements;
* With the state;
* With multinational institutions.
* With international structures that are committed to women's issues

2.3 Fight triple oppression for the emancipation of women through persuasion, contestation, compromise, pressure, confrontation and whatever form of struggle.

2.3.1 Act as a focal point for linking women from different localities by producing analysis and strategies that draw on local, regional differences and strengths.

2.3.2 Provide a forum for cooperation and networking amongst women.

2.3.3 Building solidarity, starting with the particularities of women's realities.

2.4 Fight for both practical gender needs and specific gender needs with the aim of bringing women from diverse sectors with different challenges, diverse cultures etc. so as to strengthen their voice so as to ensure that they transform this country into a non-racial non-sexist, united and democratic South Africa.

2.4.1 Encourage and conduct research, analysis and advocacy that are central to raising awareness. Further to support research centres and women's studies programmes within the academy in order to contribute to the promotion of feminist perspectives or sensitization of the state for women's concerns.

2.4.2 Contribute to women's studies to the enrichment of scholarship in a number of fields - not just humanities and social sciences.

2.4.3 Address the centrality of family, community and religion in women's lives.

2.4.4 To ensure that there is activism and visibility of women in all spheres of life with the aim of dislodging patriarchy.

2.5 Fight poverty and create jobs for the emancipation of all women, in particular poor black rural women and working class women who brunt the burden of poverty and who ensure that they create survival tactics to fight poverty.

2.5.1 Ensure that women are involved in economic development forums that exist at local government level.

2.5.2 Participate in business forms through Black Economic Empowerment structures.

2.5.3 Benefit from the Affirmative Action Programmes.

2.6 Defend the gains that the women of South Africa have made through the selfless sacrifices of both sung and unsung heroines of our struggle.

Section 3: Membership of the Movement

3.1 Membership

3.1.1 Regular Membership

1. Regular membership of the movement shall be open to any progressive South African women's organisation and formations that work with women that share the values and principles of the PWMSA.

2. Application for membership shall be in writing to the Secretariat and upon acceptance by the Steering Committee the member shall be liable for the applicable annual dues.

3. The Secretariat shall keep a register of the members of the Movement

Honorary Members

Persons nominated by any member and approved by the Steering Committee, may become honorary members.

An Honorary member is not eligible to hold office. Such member will be required to pay all dues and shall receive all general publications and correspondence of the Movement.

Termination of Membership

3.4.1 Member organisation shall notify the Steering Committee in writing of their resignation from the Movement.

3.4.2 an organisation that has resigned from the Movement may apply for re-instatement.

Section 4: The Structure of the Movement

4.1 National Steering Committee

4.1.1 Selection and Tenure

1. There shall be a National Steering Committee comprising of sectors that form the Movement.

2. The National Steering Committee shall include a convenor of each province, in the absence of convenor a representative will attend.

3. National Steering Committee shall be composed of representatives from different active sectors to serve for a period of five (5) years to reflect the diversity of the membership.

4. National Conference shall identify sectors for representation to the steering committee.

5. After the Conference of the PWMSA the previous committee in conjunction with the newly seconded members will convene a handing over meeting within a period of a month.

6. The National Steering Committee shall hold office for a period of five (5) years

1. Until their successors are seconded;
2. Become for one reason or another disqualified;

4.1.2 Meetings of the National Steering Committee

1. Members of the National Steering Committee shall meet at least once in three (3) months
2. The quorum for meetings of the Members of the National Steering Committee shall be half plus one of the members of the Committee.

4.1.3 Powers and Duties of the Committee

1. The Steering Committee shall elect a Convenor and assign portfolios and responsibilities to the members of the Steering Committee.

2. They shall carry out and monitor the decisions of the National Conference

3. They shall coordinate the establishment of Provincial Steering Committees

4. Receive reports from sub-committees

5. Any member who is unable to attend any meeting shall notify the Secretariat prior to the commencement of the meeting. The Convenor shall contact any member organisation for its member who misses three (3) meetings in a row, without notification to the Secretariat, and ask if the Member wishes to continue serving on the National Steering Committee.

4.1.4 Meetings

1. Members of the Steering Committee shall meet at least once in three months.

2. The quorum for meetings of the Members of the Steering Committee shall be half plus one of the members of the Committee.

4.1.5 Committees

1. There shall be such other Committee(s) and ad hoc committees, as the Steering Committee may from time to time deem necessary.

2. Each Committee shall have a Coordinator.

3. The Coordinator of a Committee shall perform all duties incidental to the office of the Convenor, and the Steering Committee may determine such other duties as.

4.1.6 Provincial Steering Committees

There shall be a Provincial Steering Committee comprised of representatives from sectors that exist in such a province, namely:

* Eastern Cape
* Free State
* Gauteng
* KwaZulu Natal
* Limpopo
* Mpumalanga
* North West
* Northern Cape
* Western Cape

4.1.7 Selection and Tenure

Member organisations shall be seconded by the sectors present at the Provincial General Meeting that will take place annually, and shall assume office at the end of the meeting at which they were appointed. The Provincial Committee members shall hold office for a period of three years.

4.1.8 Meetings of the Provincial Committee

1. The Provincial Steering Committee shall meet every second month.
2. The quorum for meetings of the Members of the Provincial Committee shall be half plus one of the members of the Committee.

4.1.9 Powers and duties of the Provincial Steering Committee

1. The Provincial Steering Committee shall elect a Convenor and assign responsibilities to the members of the Steering Committee.

2. The Provincial Conference on consensus may delegate the Provincial Steering Committee to appoint sector committees to deal with matters relating to economic transformation, social transformation and governance.

3. The Provincial Committee; shall appoint convenors and members of all sub-committees.

4. The Members of the Provincial Committee shall meet on a regular basis to conduct the business of the Movement at Provincial level.

Section 5: General meeting of the Movement

5.1 Provincial Conference

1. There shall be a Conference meeting of the Movement in every province at the end of the term of office (3 years).

2. The Conference may be held in a venue and a date confirmed by the Provincial Steering Committee in consultation with the National Steering Committee any where in the province.

3. The Provincial Steering Committee shall determine the location in the province and the date of the Conference.

4. The Provincial Steering Committee shall circulate amendments to the founding document and the base documents six months before the conference.

5. Notice of the location and date of the Provincial Conference shall be communicated to all members by April 15 in each year.

6. The agenda of the Provincial Conference together with the Minutes of the previous Conference.

7. Quorum at the Provincial Conference shall comprise one third of membership in good standing. A simple majority based on consensus by the members in good standing present shall pass resolutions.

5.2.1 National Council

A National Council of the Movement shall be convened by the National Steering Committee through the Convenor at such time and at such place as may be specified by her in a written notice of such meeting and must be called within 30 (thirty) days upon written request lodged with the Secretary by at least one third of the members in good standing.

At any National Conference the only business that shall be discussed shall be that which has been specified in the written request lodged by the members concerned, unless the Steering Committee in her discretion otherwise permits.

If for any reason the Convenor is unable to convene the National Council duly requested by members, the vice Convenor shall do so.

5.2 National Conference

The National Conference shall be the highest decision body of the Progressive Women's Movement.

It shall deliberate on programmes upon receipt of reports.

It will give guidance to the consolidation of economic, social, governance and political programmes of the structure.

It will further evaluate and review the platform of action.

It will receive and discuss the reports of the Movement that will be tabled by the Steering Committee (audited statement).

Have the right and power to review and rectify its base document and related developed documents.

Have the authority to amend the founding document

Section 6: Finance

The Steering Committee shall have the power to authorise expenditure on behalf of the Movement from time to time for the purposes of furthering the objectives of the Movement in accordance with such terms and conditions as the Member Organisation of the Steering Committee may direct. The monies of the Movement shall be deposited and disbursed in accordance with any Banking Resolution passed by the Steering Committee.

Section 7: Disciplinary Procedure

There will be a Code of Conduct and procedures

Section 8: Dues

8.1 Period

Each member shall, on an annual basis pay dues for every five years.

8.2 Quantum

The National Conference shall determine the amount of the annual dues for a given five year period by November 15 of the previous year.

8.3 Dues

In every five years, the Steering Committee shall remit the dues owing to any body to which the Movement is affiliated.

Section 9: Indemnity

9.1 General

Unless expressly prohibited by law, the Movement shall fully indemnify any member organisation threatened to be cited as a party to an action, suit or proceeding (whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative) by reason of the fact that such person is or was a member organisation or agent of the Movement or served any other enterprise at the request of the Chapter, against all expenses (including attorneys' fees), judgments, fines and amounts paid or to be paid in settlement incurred in connection with such action, suit or proceeding.

Section 10: Auditors

The National Steering Committee shall in consultation with the relevant Committee have the power to appoint auditors to audit the books annually.

Section 11: Dissolution / Winding-Up

11.1 The Movement may close down if at least two-thirds of the members present and voting at a meeting convened for the purpose of considering such matter, are in favour of closing down.

11.2 When the Movement closes down it has to pay off all its debts. After doing this, if there is property or money left over, it should not be paid or given to members of the organisation. It should be given in some way to another non-profit organisation that has similar objectives. The Movement's general meeting can decide what organisation this should be.

This founding document was approved and accepted by members of PROGRESSIVE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA.

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