Boy and Girl Cutout Decals. Representational Image.
Boy and Girl Cutout Decals. Representational Image. Magda Ehlers/

National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Deputy Chairperson Sylvia Lucas said that the parliaments need to regularly check the gender norms in communities.

The comments from Lucas came during the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68), which is underway in New York until March 22.

The event being held under the theme, "Gender-sensitive Institutions to Break the Poverty Cycle" where Lucas explained the importance of policy interventions from the parliaments to ensure gender transformation progress, targeting each community to improve efficiency.

Parliaments should help women become better at advocating for gender-responsive oversight and laws in key areas like development and transformation, Lucas said during the event, which was organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and United Nations (UN) Women.

"In working towards achieving gender transformation, we must continue to be guided by existing international and national protocols and legal frameworks, including prescribed norms of gender transformation, which can be used to strategically shape policy-making and promote gender equality," she said, SA News reported.

Lucas said South Africa has adopted the 2021 Women's Charter for Accelerated Development, which guides Parliament on policy, laws, and programs to promote gender equality and alleviate poverty. It's influenced by global standards and demanded by South African women.

She explained that the critical policy areas highlighted through the Women's Charter Review process include the recommendation for the amendment of budget policies, money bills, fiscal policies and tax laws, including macroeconomic policies.

"If amended to make them more gender-responsive in their shape, form and content, these policies and legislative instruments will serve as enabling instruments to achieve poverty reduction and gender transformation objectives," Lucas said.

Lucas mentioned that parliaments should keep investing in certain areas including understanding budgets from a gender perspective, making laws that consider gender issues, overseeing and setting agendas with a gender focus, and improving skills to use gender-specific data for budget decisions.

The South African government launched the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence last year.

In December, two suspects set a house on fire, killing two women as they were tied up in the bedrooms. The third woman managed to run away from the house. This incident took place on Christmas Eve.