Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Young African women faced with a double burden

02.03.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
The issue of women is a complex issue in Africa. The African woman is sometimes denigrated for her level of education, sometimes looked down on; to the point where she is denied access to strategic positions, although Ethiopia has distinguished herself by forming a women's government in 2018. In many areas, many obstacles prevent women from gaining access to certain jobs, running a business, taking control of a plane and more. If on the 8th of March of each year, humanity celebrates the emancipation of women, this implies that the woman deserves the same chances as the man at the professional level because she has the capacities and skills to produce the same results as the latter.
According to the 2018 edition of the Women, Business and the Law report published by the World Bank Group, governments in 65 economies have taken steps to improve women's economic participation. This report indicates that a total of 87 legislative and regulatory reforms giving credit to women have been adopted in the last two years.

However, in some sub regions, conventions prohibit women from working night jobs, as is the case in Angola and Algeria. In other economies, a woman can work only with the consent of her husband or she cannot work in specific sectors such as manufacturing, construction, energy, transportation, which restricts employment prospects by more than 2.7 billion, according to the World Bank 2018 report.

The woman in politics

The participation of women in politics is an important issue in order to establish real representativeness of the political leadership and to allow women to enjoy their full rights. In Africa, women are pushed aside and the political chair is reserved for men. This picture is still relevant in many countries but after years of struggle, the situation is changing slowly.

The few women who show interest and propose to walk the path of power are rarely encouraged by men. Of the 55 countries in Africa, women have attained the highest office in only two. They are Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia and Joyce Banda in Malawi.

Since then, no female candidate for the highest office has echoed. In Nigeria, Oby Ezekwesili, co-founder of “bring back Our girls”, a militant group for the release of more than 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram, announced that she would run for president in 2019 in Nigeria. But this remained unfulfilled. Was her application was downgraded? Or did she simply feel unmotivated and turned back? Difficult to answer; at least she should have announced it loud and clear.

Women’s participation in the political process and their presence in parliament is very uneven across countries. In an agreement with the Inter-Parliamentary Union of 1 November 2015, among the seven African countries with the most women in parliament, Rwanda is at the top of the list with 63.8%. Despite this domination, presence in politics the phenomenon is that the woman’s voice remains unheard. She proposes laws which are revoked afterwards and when she speaks she is heckled to keep her quiet.

But in Europe the feminist revolution seems to be on the move with 27% of women in parliament. Finland, Sweden, Spain and Poland are close to parity. More and more women of all ages are in demand and are seeking positions as prime minister, director general of state institutions, minister (…) vice president of parliament as the instigator Wanda Nowicka in Poland.

Rarity of women in the navy and aviation

Several obstacles hinder women’s professional development: structural impediments caused by discriminatory laws and institutions that reduce their chances of integrating professionally, culture and limiting opportunities in relation to men.

Women are generally less likely than men to enter universities and attend degree or technical courses, less likely to make the contacts and have the resources to become successful leaders. It is rare to see the women Commander at the Navy, Marshal, Pilot, at the head of an airline, or General of the Armed Forces. All these positions are delegated to men.

The place of women in the economy and civil society

If the African woman does not have the same privileges as men in politics, economics and entrepreneurship, they are progressively imposed because the economy of a country increases with the contribution of both genders. “No economy can achieve its full economic potential without the full participation of men and women,” said Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive of the World Bank. Despite this, women struggle to work in the fields of their choice because they are simply women.

In the civil society, women are very much involved in the fight against forced marriage, violence against women or the difficulty of access to employment for the young mother. Fortunately, some countries have taken steps to improve women’s participation in politics, as in Ethiopia in 2018, and in Senegal in 2010 where a gender equality law provides that all lists in parliamentary elections must include the same number of women. Men and women; hence 43% of the seats in parliament are held by women.

However, they urge the states of the continent to ratify and implement the 2003 Maputo Protocol, which symbolizes the commitment of States to work for their socio-economic emancipation and against the discrimination.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit image : google images/women day

To view full news and leave comments you must be logged in. Please join the community