Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

In looking for a feed on WomenWatch, the article on empowering women to boost African development sprung out at me as I am drawn to anything to do with African development! the article brought forward some very positive informaton about what women are doing for their various African countries and it was nice to focus on an article which records the empowerment of women rather than discussing the oppression which is so prevalent. However the article does not skip over such oppression, stating that in Sub-Saharan Africa, progress toward achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment has been modest, but bring ing to light that several countries have been spearheading policies that
address women’s needs.


One of the most notable achievements has been to elevate the debate on gender to the national level, with countries like Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso or
Liberia integrating gender concerns into their national development
plans and poverty reduction strategies. Which clearly points out the seriousness with which inequality between genders is being met.


The article also discussess the progress in women’s political representation. For instance, the South African election of April 2009 saw women’s representation in
Parliament rise to 45 per cent (from 34 per cent before the election).
Uganda’s parliament is now comprised of 30.9 per cent women, whilst in
Rwanda, the proportion of women in parliament is now 56 per cent, the
highest in the world.


However the article also expresses that despite encouraging developments, much remains to be achieved on gender equality and women’s empowerment across the region. With regards to:

  • Education - The female primary school completion rate is among the lowest in the developing world, at 57 per cent (10 percentage points below that of
    boys) and the percentage of enrolment of girls compared with boys in
    secondary education fell from 82 per cent in 1999 to 79 per cent in
    2007.
  • Employment - Women’s labour force participation is another area of concern. In the non-agricultural sector, only about 25 percent of women are employed in
    Africa, with more than 70 percent in the unstructured, precarious and
    vulnerable informal sector.
  • Property Rights - Women’s property rights, particularly land rights, are unmet policy commitments within this area, as considerable gender inequalities
    persist in access to land and property.
  • Maternal Mortality - Reducing maternal mortality in the region is another challenge, since negligible progress has been made so far. Maternal deaths (per 100,000
    live births) stood at 920 in 1990 and dropped only to 900 in 2005
    (according to the 2009 UN MDG report).
  • HIV/AIDS - In contrast with other regions, almost 60 percent of people living with HIV in Africa are female, and women and girls bear a
    disproportionate burden in providing care for AIDS-affected families
    and communities.
  • Gender-based violence is another area of concern in many countries and is especially alarming in crisis or post-conflict States like the Democratic Republic of Congo
    and Sierra Leone.

Views: 19

Comment by John D. Boyden on May 18, 2010 at 8:54pm
Excellent knowledge share!! +1 KS

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