Contributors are invited to write on the topic above from either a research or an activism perspective. Abstracts and contributions must be written in English and in a style accessible to a wide audience. Please submit abstracts to editorial@agenda.org.za or admin@agenda.org.za

No later than NOVEMBER 19, 2015

GUEST EDITORS: Prof Amanda Gouws and Dr Lillian Artz

Conceptual Rationale:

In 2016 the South African Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) will be 20 years old. Central to the Constitution is the Bill of Rights that protects freedom, equality and dignity. From a gender perspective five grounds for non-discrimination are very important: sex, gender, sexual orientation, marriage and pregnancy. The right to equality opens the way for substantive citizenship for women and members of the LGBTIQ communities.

The government is the custodian of the Constitution and should at all times protect its principles and values, as well as making sure that legislation does not conflict with the Constitution. To the extent that it governs in a way that all citizens perceive it to govern in the interest of all, it contributes to its own legitimacy and strengthens trust in its institutions and political actors. Support for institutions is viewed as diffuse support that is long lasting and protects the political system from short term fluctuations when citizens become disillusioned with political leaders. All political systems need trust to govern without coercion.

In Chapter 9 the Constitution embeds the oversight bodies, inter alia, of the Commission for Gender Equality, the Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector. The Constitution also protects the separation of power among the legislature, the executive branches of government and the judiciary, something that can be easily undermined under one party dominance.

Social trust refers to the relationships and networks among citizens that will build social capital and social cohesions, without which nation building becomes very onerous.

Twenty years after the promulgation of the final Constitution we need to ask the question to what extent the implementation of the principles of the Constitution have contributed to gender equality and to eradicating gender discrimination, and to what extent have the Chapter 9 bodies been the watchdogs of gender equality. To what extent do women trust political institutions and actors and do these institutions incorporate and reflect the values that women and members of the LGBTIQ communities contribute?

There is a disturbing trend of the state not engaging civil society and also dismissing the outcomes of court hearings, ignoring the reports of Chapter 9 institutions and vilifying criticism of a reluctant and recalcitrant state as “counter revolutionary”. This “deafness” of the state has far reaching implications for the creation of substantive citizenship where the rule of law is used as a measure of a constitutional state.

Articles for this issue should engage:

• Gender equality and the Constitution
• The impact of the rulings in court cases that challenge gender inequality (such as the Shilubana case and the Grootboom case)
• Transformation of the judiciary
• The contribution of the CGE and other oversight structures as watchdogs of gender equality
• Formal vs substantive equality for women and members of the LGBTIQ communities
• Building social capital that will include different gender identities
• Women and participatory citizenship

The main issue that needs reflection is to what extent women and members of the LGBTIQ communities experience and live substantive citizenship?