National Plan of Action to Increase Women's Participation and Representation in the Conduct of Public Affairs
EISA Madagascar has been active in drafting a Plan of Action for the inclusion of at least 30% women in political and public affairs.
Following a seminar in 2008 entitled Gender Equality in the Democratic Process and the Institutions in Madagascar and the SADC countries, a steering committee was established. The committee formed the VMLF (Women's Movement in Politics for the Development of Madagascar). The Plan of Action was launched in Antananarivo on 26 January 2009. 80 participants from Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa, Toamasina, Antsiranana, Mahajanga and Toliara attended the launch.
The VMLF has taken as its starting point the Madagascar Action Plan (MAP) as well as the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. The first phase will be implemented over five years from 2009 - 2013. A programme evaluation will be conducted towards the end of the second year in order to make strategic realignments and necessary refinements.
The main goal of the Plan of Action is to promote a society that is underpinned by justice, democracy and good governance and that offers equal opportunities for individual development. The Plan is informed by a situational analysis pointing to a political and public life that remains dominated by men in Madagascar and most African countries. This is despite programs and international instruments geared towards gender equity and non discrimination towards women.
In general, the Plan of Action also puts forward the need for behavioural and attitudinal change in men and women. More particularly, it encourages women to take responsibility as agents of change. The Plan provides a strategy for information and communication regarding the promotion of gender equity and improvements in the standard of living of women. The aim is to interest women in public life and equip them with resources to stake a claim in decision making functions.
The principles which underlie these activities refer to various international and national texts. They take as a starting point the fundamental values of, amongst others, democracy, ethics, integrity, citizen participation, accountability and parity.
The National Seminar was attended by Denis Kadima, Ilona Tip, Professor Sheila Meintjes (University of the Witwatersrand), Dagny Mjos (representative of the Norwegian Embassy in Madagascar), Ms Rasoaranto Ravelonirina Dorothée Myriame, General Director of the Ministry of Health, Family Planning and Social Welfare, as well as 80 participants from civil society, political parties, international organisations, government and Parliament.