Women’s rights across Africa

This weeks Pambazuka News has a special Women’s issues focusing on the last 15 years since Beijing Platform for Action and the future for women’s rights on the continent. The essays cover securing women’s rights, gender and conflict, what has been achieved to date and a programme for action for the 16 days of action around ending violence against women which begins on November 25th. Details of other actions across the continent to follow.

Women’s rights: looking backward or looking forward?”: “Despite the wide adoption of protocols for gender equality across Africa, ‘violations of women’s human rights have reached epidemic proportions,’ Mary Wandia writes in Pambazuka News, ‘and unless we adopt a multi-sectoral approach in the implementation and monitoring of regional and international commitments, we shall continue to marginalise half of the continent’s population.’ With the Beijing +15 Africa Review meeting underway in Banjul, Wandia asks whether Africa’s ministers for gender and women will ‘rise up to the challenge’.”:


“Spotlight on Beijing +15”: “
Addressing gender inequality remains central to the drive to improve livelihoods and engender development for all, writes Marren Akatsa-Bukachi. While progress has been made, the key challenge will be to revitalise the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) and ensure genuine momentum is sustained around achieving gender equality in all areas of life, the author argues.”:

“Why we shouldn’t need Beijing +15”: “‘The idea behind “Beijing” was not to get together every five years and count the victims of gender discrimination and violence’, Morissanda Kouyaté writes in Pambazuka News. ‘It was intended to be — and remains — a campaign to end these problems. A lack of will remains a key obstacle to achieving this — not just political will, but at all levels, to consider women as equal members of society, enjoying all inalienable rights accorded to men.’”:

“The Beijing Platform for Action: what has it delivered to African women?”: “The Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) was unveiled some 15 years ago, leading Norah Matovu Winyi to ask what has really changed for Africa’s women since the platform’s inception. Over the last 15 years progress in women’s position has on the whole been regrettably slow the author notes, with a wide gap between commitments and actual action still persistent. But with the unveiling of a new resolution to ‘establish [a] new gender-equality entity in the United Nations’, there is fresh hope that the international organisation will be able to work with governments and Africa’s citizens to revitalise the drive for equality, peace and development.”:

“Kenya: peace and security imperatives for women”: “Carole Ageng’o takes a closer look at the interplay between gender relations and conflict in the three phases of Kenya’s electoral process — pre-election, election and post-election. Highlighting the barriers women face to participating in each phase despite international standards and regional instruments for protection of the rights of women, Ageng’o argues that entrenched social roles have ‘made it difficult for men and women to share power, privilege and status on the basis of equality’. A change in prevailing gender relations, Ageng’o suggests, is key to ‘empowering communities torn apart by war to build peace from below’.”:

“Zimbabwe ratifies SADS protocol on Gender and Development”: “Some good news from Zimbabwe! Zimbabwe ratified the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, this month, becoming the second country after Namibia, to accede to this important regional instrument for advancing gender equality and women’s rights.”:

“Graca Machel returns”: “With Graça Machel set to re-visit Kenya this weekend as a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons overseeing the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), L. Muthoni Wanyeki stresses the need for all Kenyans to ensure that those in charge are not permitted to paint a rosy picture of ‘achievements’ for Machel’s team.”:

“16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence”:
“People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), based in South Africa, has put together a programme of action for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, from 25 November to 10 December.”

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