The rights of women are occupying an increasingly important place in the global - and African - political discourse. African governments have committed themselves to a growing number of instruments for protecting and promoting the rights of women, yet implementation continues to lag. In May 2005 the Institute for Global Dialogue held a ground-breaking workshop at which analysts and activists from numerous African countries surveyed gender instruments applicable to Africa, identified factors influencing their implementation, and evolved proposals for strengthening them. The proceedings were encapsulated in a volume entitled Gender instruments in Africa: Critical perspectives, future strategies (IGD 2005). It provided a valuable guide to this emerging dimension in African politics, and was well received throughout the continent. Following the success of the first project, the IGD held a second workshop in August 2007 aimed at deepening and regionalising the debate on gender instruments and their implementation. The amplified and expanded contributions appear in this volume.
It deals with the current status of women in Africa; situates the gender debate in the broader context of regional integration; and analyses the gender implications of HIV and AIDS; the gender implications of climate change and food insecurity; the feminisation of labour in SADC; and the role of women in peacekeeping processes. It is hoped that this volume will help policy-makers and others to improve gender instruments in Africa and southern Africa in particular, and strengthen their implementation.