After 10 years of waiting, the EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill was passed into Law by EALA on the International Women’s Day of 8th March 2017 in Kigali-Rwanda. After the enactment of the Bill, it now becomes the EAC Gender Equality and Development Act.
EASSI in partnership with DIAKONIA are taking strategic strides in ensuring that EAC Gender Bill is ratified though networking and partnering with strategic like- minded organisations; conducting country specific lobby of the EAC ministers to ensure that their heads of states assent to the Act. The name of the Act was slightly changed from the EAC Gender Equality and Development Act to the EAC Gender Equality, Equity and Development Act.
During a breakfast multi-stakeholder meeting in October this year, EASSI used the opportunity to engage key stakeholders from within the region to discuss the advancement of EAC Gender Act. At the dialogue, participants were guided by the findings of the Pilot EAC Gender Equality and Development Barometer. The outcome of the dialogue meeting had recommendations such as lobbying country specific ministers to the EAC to enact the Act and continuous media engagement to popularize the Bill. Already, EASSI, TGNP (Tanzania) and CAFOB (Burundi) have had engagements with technical officials from both the ministry of Gender and EAC to influence the Ministers with regard to assenting to the Act. Uganda has also assured EASSI of its Support to the endorsement of the EAC Gender Equality and Development Act by EAC Partner States.
The EAC Gender Act is aligned to Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Instruments such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, CEDAW, the protocol to the African charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the rights of women in Africa and the Recent Sustainable Development Goals as well as the EAC Treaty.
EASSI in partnership with DIAKONIA is implementing a 5 year project; Promoting Women’s Economic Justice in the East African community. The philosophy behind this project is that achieving women’s economic justice in the EAC is possible if stakeholders enhance the credibility of their advocacy with evidence on gaps that are periodically assessed and documented. This will also be possible if a deliberate effort is made to invest in strengthening the capacity of civil society to engage, influence and demand for the implementation, review, and formulation of gender responsive trade policies, laws and regulations at national and regional level. The overall goal of this project is to contribute to women's economic justice in the East African Community. The project focuses at achieving 2 broad areas: EAC and partner states enact and implement the EAC Gender Bill by 2020; and EAC and Partner states implement the EAC Elimination of Non –Tariff Barriers Act (2015) in a gender responsive manner by 2020. Under this project, EASSI made the following achievements.
Under this area, a gender analysis of the EAC Elimination of Non –Tariff Barriers Act (2015) was done, which revealed that the act was gender blind. A campaign to ensure that EAC and Partner states implement the EAC Elimination of Non –Tariff Barriers Act (2015) in a gender responsive manner by 2020 commenced in 2016. To gather evidence on gaps in the implementation of this act by EAC partner states, EASSI then embarked on writing a shadow report which findings are generated through the Citizens Score card. Through the Score card, traders, brokers, producers, transporters and clearing agents are asked about the implementation of the act aimed at highlighting the gender gaps. Findings from the Citizens Score card will then inform policy process and implementation of the act in a gender responsive manner. This is expected to bring about a condusive environment for women traders in the EAC thereby increasing their volume of trade.