The issue of mainstreaming what may be termed marginalised groups has always been a key element of the Gauteng Legislature’s agenda. This may be seen, for example, in the institution’s early adoption of an employment equity plan or
in the creation of dedicated political structures to focus on gender equality. It may also be seen in the forums that the institution has created over the past twenty years that bring young people, persons with disability, women and other groups from civil society together for conversations with the Legislature.
In 2015 the GPL adopted a transversal mainstreaming approach to integrating issues of marginalised groups in its business processes. A common question asked throughout this project was: what is transversal mainstreaming? Thus it is apt to de ne this concept on the onset. In mathematics, a transversal line means a line that cuts across two or more vertical lines. In the case of mainstreaming in the GPL, the term ‘transversal’ is used to stand for ‘cross-cutting’. Mainstreaming refers
to normalising the consideration of cross-cutting issues in the work of the institution, such that these become routine practice. Thus transversal mainstreaming refers to the routine consideration of cross-cutting issues into the mandates and internal business processes of the GPL, by all business units of the institution. The GPL considers gender, race, disability and youth, as cross-cutting issues of focus in the institution.
Traditionally, the key debate within this arena has been whether women’s interests should be driven through a dedicated structure such as a gender standing committee or whether it should be ‘mainstreamed’ through all structures, systems and mandates of the Legislature. Today, the debate within the institution is considerably broader and includes discussions on how to mainstream issues of gender, race, disability and youth. Transversal mainstreaming within the Gauteng Legislature is promoted through dedicated structures. The Gauteng Legislature’s Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (MPWC) is an association of women parliamentarians from across party lines, who are committed to advancing the economic and socio-political well-being of women in the province. The Caucus was re-established in 2015 and serves as an advisory body to the Gauteng Legislature. In addition, the Transversal Mainstreaming Focal Point (TMFP) was established as the administrative function that supports transversal mainstreaming in both the political and administration structures of the institution.