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School: Africa / US Energy Ministerial Conference & Women in Energy • Quest 2: Women in Energy • Task 1: Reporting on Women in Energy Conference
updated 12/12/2000 8:59:00 AM by Robyn L.
Report: Failure in objectives doesn't mean a waste of time for Ms Annecke
Wendy Annecke spoke on the experience and subsequent failure of South African women to make their voices heard when the South African Government was drafting their energy policies at the National Energy Summit.

With the first free and fair elections in South Africa in 1994 came the onset of democracy. This offered many previously unheard voices an opportunity to make their opinions known, and women concerned with energy issues attemtped to present their opinions to the policy makers.

These concerned women initiated a workshop around the country, using a grassroots approach to different communities. These communities, especially the women within these communities, were asked for the energy problems concerning their areas, and what they thought were feasible solutions. The women within these communities were determined to make their voices heard and subsequently asked the organization that initiated the project for a guarantee that their opinions would be taken into account. Unfortunately, this guarantee could not be given and at the National Energy Summit, these rural women's voices were not heard. Ms Annecke said that this experience taught her and her organization that not only must the disadvantaged be taught to express themselves, but the rich must be taught to listen.

If these women's wishes had been drafted into the energy policy at the National Energy Summit, Ms Annecke stated that the following issues would have been a priority:
that future sources of energy should be practical, safe, accessible and affordable
that women should be represented in all sectors of the energy divisions due to the fact that they were the main consumers of energy
and the following issues still need to be addressed by policy drafters in South Africa:
policies benefiting the poorer women should be implemented
legislation should be gender-sensitive
policies should endorse the "shift and share" concept when addressing gender issues ie: labour/gender inequities should not become further entrenched.

Ms Annecke concluded that although she and her organization had achieved limited success in including rural women's needs in the drafting of energy policies, she had learnt a great deal from her experiences.

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