Conducting A Situational Analysis on Women's Political Participation in Eswatini

(National Consultant) 1 senior national expert  
Country of Assignment:Eswatini  


Women and Law in Southern Africa (in Eswatini and Zimbabwe)  together with other Regional NGOs working on women’s rights and gender equality in the African regions through the leadership of International IDEA is implementing a two year project titled ‘Enhancing the Inclusion of Women in Political Participation in Africa which is being implemented in Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Zimbabwe funded by Embassy of Sweden, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The overall objective of the project is ‘Increasing the political participation and representation of women in Africa in line with the Maputo Protocol of 2003, various associated sub-regional protocols and standards, and the SDGs’.

Project impact objectives are

  • To contribute to an increase in the voice and presence of women in political processes and institutions in Africa. 
  • To step up advocacy for and expand awareness towards increased demands for the inclusion of women at all levels of political participation and decision-making.
  • To build and strengthen enabling platforms that allow for women’s inclusion in all levels of political participation.

The Boundary partners for the project include:

  • Civil Society Organisations, including women’s organisations Political Parties
  • Public Interest Groups: The Media, Institutions that are custodians of customary and religious laws Election Management Bodies
  • Parliaments: National, sub-national and Regional
  • Gender /Women’s Ministries, Regional Economic Communities and the African Union
  • Policy Makers and Advisers 


Despite some of the historic and recent successes achieved on women participation in Africa, considerable attention is still required on account of numerous gaps and deficits that require to be filled in leadership positions. In the African region, women political participation has been in the core of gender equality initiatives for a while now since the adoption of the Maputo Protocol in 2003 which emulates the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), known as the Women’s Bill of Rights, International Convention on Population Development (ICPD) and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development which contextualizes gender equality issues into the SADC sub region. Most recently, the Sustainable Development Goals 2020 has entrenched the commitments by countries at global level to have gender parity in political positions by 2030. Goal 5 calls for gender equality as a tool to achieving sustainable goals and in Goal 5.5 specifically call upon member states to ensure inclusion of women in all leadership positions. The goal recognises that ideas and opinion of women are critical in achieving sustainable development and that it is critical that they are included in government decisions.  

The Kingdom of Eswatini

The Kingdom of Eswatini has also made strides in the recognition and promotion of women participation through ratification of a number of international and regional human rights instruments on gender equlity. The country has also adopted a number of strategies aimed at facilitating the promotion and protection of the vulnerable and disadvantaged in society such as women and children. At international level Eswatini is a party to CEDAW which provides that States Parties shall take in all fields, in particular in the political, social, economic and cultural fields, all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men.

The Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, noted the persisting inequality between men and women in positions of power and decision-making. The Beijing Platform for Action emphasized that “women’s equal participation in decision-making is not only a demand for justice or democracy, but can also be seen as a necessary condition for women’s interests to be taken into account. Without the perspective of women at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women’s Article 9 provides the right to equal participation of men and women in the political and decision-making process.

At SADC level, the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development addresses gender inequality in all spheres of life on issues that are affecting (in particular) women and children. The Protocol recognized the existing disparities in the area of leadership and therefore provided for SADC countries to put in place measures aimed at redressing the inequalities for purposes of achieving sustainable development. Of note, is that similarly to the Maputo Protocol, the SADC Protocol also calls for 50% representation of women and men in leadership positions.

The country’s Policy environment is cognizant of the importance of inclusion of women in leadership positions and entrenched such aspiration in the Constitution of the country. The Constitution provides that there will be 30% quarter representation at all levels of decision making. The 30% was guided by the SADC Declaration on Gender which was then elevated to the SADC Protocol and increased the gender equality quarter to 50% in 2008. Development of the Eswatini Gender and Development Index is also a best practice as it provides information that was not there on the flagship of women and men in leadership positions.

In preparation for the 2018 elections, the kingdom also enacted the Act on inclusion of women in Parliament which facilitated the election of the four women from the regions to try and increase the number of women to 30% in parliament.

Although the country has ratified key international instruments, however, domestication and implementation of the instruments is slow. For instance, on leadership positions the Constitution requires that there be law to ensure that the quarter of women representation is achieved at all levels. To date the country does not have an affirmative action that will facilitate women representation at every level of leadership. The Act on women representation is only focusing on the four regional women to be elected into parliament and not providing for inclusion of women at all levels which is a glaring gap.  The country therefore needs to enact an Affirmative Action Law that will guide inclusion of women at all levels of decision-making positions and also ensure that all structures have the 50/50 parity in the public sector, private and civil society.

Elections in Eswatini

Eswatini has had three consecutive elections after the Constitutive Act of 2005 and inspite of reinforced efforts to increase the number of women in political positions, however it has not been possible. Whilst the 2008 elections yielded a good results, however the 2013 and 2018 elections have continued to be a disappointment as the former only managed to filter in one woman members of parliament and the latter, only  two women went through elections which saw Eswatini continuing to fall short of the 30% constitutional The results of the 2018 elections despite concerted efforts from gender activities and women’s rights advocates sensitizing the public on the importance of inclusion of women in political positions.

The minority status of women perpetrate exclusion of women in that the perception of the larger part of society is such that leadership is a preserve for men and in some corners of society particularly traditional set up, women in leadership are still viewed with reservations. Gender norms and stereotypes therefore still pose a hindrance in the inclusion of women.

The Project is aimed at creating a conducive environment to build on the gains made and ensure an increase in the number of women in political decision making positions.

The “Enhancing the Inclusion of Women in Political Participation in Africa project” project is therefore aimed at addressing the above challenges through ‘Increasing the political participation and representation of women in Africa in line with the Maputo Protocol of 2003, various associated sub-regional protocols and standards, and the SDGs’. This will be done through a number of activities at national and regional level. Knowledge on the current situation on the inclusion of women in political leadership positions is critical as it will inform the rest of the activities including training, sensitisation of stakeholders and advocacy. It is for that reason that WLSA Eswatini is looking for a consultant to undertake a Situational Analysis on Women Political participation in Eswatini that will provide indepth knowledge and analysis on gender equality and women participation in Eswatini.

2. Objectives of the Action

The objectives of the exercise is as follows:

  • To define the nature and extent of women participation in Eswatini.
  • To have an understanding of challenges, barriers and entry point Map the perceptions and experiences of key stakeholders in relation to inclusion of women;
  • Identify existing strategies and activities which address the problem;
  • Identify the actors and organizations that are already active in the area;
  • Identify the actors and organizations that could be important partners; and
  • Identify gaps in existing strategies and activities

Scope of Work

The Women Participation Situational Analysis shall provide a status quo on the current situation in Eswatini. The Situational Analysis is aimed at knowledge development on barriers, challenges, opportunities and inroads that could be made in order to improve the inclusion of women in leadership position in the country. The consultant is expected to carry out consultations with stakeholders and review primary and secondary literature on women participation at national, regional and international level.

  1. Develop a project implementation activity plan detailing how he/she will carry out the assignment.
  2. Conduct Literature Review on Women political participation at national regional and international level.
  3. Develop data collection tools
  4. Conduct data collection with key informants, focus group discussions, indepths at national level.
  5. Undertake data processing and data analysis and produce a first drfat report
  6. Share the report with Women and Law for inputs
  7. Present Draft Report to stakeholders for validation and inputs.
  8. Finalise the report and submit to WLSA
  1. Timing and Work Plan

The assignment is expected to be carried out for a duration of 20 working days in the month of May – June 2020

  • Deliverables and Reporting Requirements
  • Inception Report
  • Draft Situational Analysis Report
  • Presentation to Stakeholders for validation
  • Final Situational Analysis Report
  • Management and Organisation

Under the overall supervision of the National Director, Women and Law Eswatini, the Consultant will report on his/ her activities to the, Research Associate, Women and Law Eswatini.

  • Competencies and Skills Requirements:  

The consultant should have the following competencies and skills:

  • Advanced University degree or equivalent experience in political sciences, international relations, development studies, law, social sciences.
  • Have at least 5 years of experience in academic research or policy analysis in the fields of gender, human rights and development ;
  • Have broad knowledge of AU entities, mandates, working methods and intergovernmental processes, especially as it relates to women, peace and security;
  • Have a good understanding of gender and women’s participation in Eswatini
  • Command thorough theoretical and practical knowledge of broader gender and women’s participation
  • Have demonstrated experience in writing high-quality documents, especially policy-relevant papers and articles, and
  • Have proven experience in analysing complex information from different sources and on various subjects.
  • Languages: Fluency in English (required) or French (desired).

Women and Law in Southern Africa now invites eligible Individual Consultants to indicate their interest in providing the Services.  Interested candidate must submitting a Technical and Financial Proposal providing information demonstrating that he/she has the required qualifications and relevant experience to perform the Services through email:  by 3rd of July 2020.