The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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Since 1994, local government in South Africa has become more important than ever before. It has been described as the 'hands and feet' of government, and is expected to play a key role in development.

But to what extent does local government support women's empowerment and gender equity? Do integrated development plans (IDPs), which give strategic direction to the work of a municipality, benefit gender equity or women's rights?

These are the key issues discussed in Local Government, Gender and Integrated Development Planning. Authors Todes, Sithole and Williamson examine whether decentralisation is actually empowering women by making government closer and more accessible, or whether national gender policy directives are being ignored in IDP processes and outcomes. The monograph is based on a project carried out in KwaZulu-Natal over the period 2004-2006. It includes both an accessible, useful summary of research findings and recommendations for the future.

The monograph is intended to stimulate thinking and debate on how to promote women's rights and gender equality within the context of decentralisation, as well as within IDP and project processes. It is aimed at a wide audience, from gender advocates and activists to municipal planners to councillors.

Product information

Format : 280mm x 210mm
Pages : 48
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2197-0
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2197-0
Publish Year : 2007

Chapter 1: Introduction

  • Introduction and purpose
  • Target group
  • Structure

Chapter 2: Background

  • The decentralisation debate
  • Decentralisation and the IDP process
  • The research process
  • eThekweni municipality
  • Msinga municipality
  • Hibiscus Coast municipality

Chapter 3: The national and provincial study

  • National gender policy
  • IDPs and gender
  • The limits of implementation
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4: The municipal case studies

  • Women's voices and the place of gender in the municipality
  • IDPs and gender
  • Gender within projects
  • Conclusions

Chapter 5: Future directions

  • Top-down approaches
  • Bottom-up approaches: voice
  • Bottom-up approaches: IDPs
  • Bottom-up approaches: projects
  • A differentiated approach

Professor Alison Todes is a former research director in the Urban Rural and Economic Development research programme at the HSRC. Todes is currently Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Dr Pearl Sithole is a research specialist in the Democracy and Governance research programme at the HSRC.

Ms Amanda Williamson is a senior lecturer at the School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand.

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