Election manifesto reports: Parties speak GBV but don’t talk to womxn’s full freedoms

2 May 2019 - New research based on a feminist analysis of party manifestos show none of the top three political parties’ manifestos will make a real difference in the lived realities of womxn.

The Dullah Omar Institute’s Women and Democracy Initiative (WDI) released reports providing feminist analyses of how the ANC, DA, EFF and the Women Forward Party deal with gender in a way that transcends the traditional focus on gender-based violence and gender quotas. The reports also look into the treatment of womxn by parties in all areas – from job creation, minimum wages and the wage gap, to land, housing, education, health and social security.

Grandstanding on gender during elections is the norm, with parties often taking the over-promise and underdeliver route. These reports may serve as an important tool to hold them accountable on promises made in manifestos. Research and advocacy officer at the WDI Motlatsi Komote said after 25 years of democracy and with more than 55% of eligible voter’s women, political parties should be doing a lot more to dismantle structural gender inequalities. “Women are fed-up and need more than politicians paying lip service to issues that are important to them.” Komote said the idea is to influence the womxn’s agenda and enable the electorate, especially womxn, to add to this agenda between elections. The analysis can serve as a feminist barometer on how parties act on these promises after elections.

Overall the ANC’s manifesto takes a stronger line than previously on patriarchy and gender-based violence, but its strategies to address the discrimination against womxn across all areas, including on GBV, are either thin or absent. Commitments made are more of the same, unspecific, and not addressing the barriers to delivery that the party has had 25 years to grapple with.

Judging from the DA’s manifesto it appears the party is deliberately gender-blind not considering the complexities of gender and confining it to gender-based violence and women’s role as traditional carers of children.

The EFF appears to have done well in taking advantage of the popularity of the feminist movement among young people but in championing their flagship issues – land and economic justice – they lack a strong gender mainstream approach across all areas.

Women Forward as the only party with an exclusive focus on women, aims to be an intersectional party that names patriarchy in its manifesto, it is strong on women-centred decision making throughout and gender is fully mainstreamed across sections. The manifesto however misses the mark on providing direction on how they will address poverty or economic reform. END

Find briefs on party manifestos attached.

Find full reports here:


 For further comment and interviews contact:

Motlatsi Komote at 072 872 2200

Zukiswa White at 064 090 3719

Samantha Waterhouse at 084 522 9646

Vivienne Lalu-Mentor at 082 494 0788