Empowering Women and Girls
Women's movements played a critical role in independence and anti-apartheid struggles and have been increasingly visible since the 1990s—speaking out, claiming rights and changing their lives for the better. More and more women are holding public office in Africa, several African countries are reaching parity in girls and boys enrollment in primary school, and women's earnings are increasing. Yet African women are still second-class citizens in their societies, as women are all over the world. Africa has some of the most progressive gender legislation in the world, but the reality does not reflect what is on paper. Gender discrimination is embedded in all the structures of our societies. In every area of life in Africa the statistics tell the same story: • More than 50% of women say they do not control decisions on their own healthcare decisions. • Women are paid 30% less than men. • Women account for almost 60% of HIV infections in Africa. • Women hold only 19% of ministerial positions in government. • Maternal mortality in Africa is 100 times higher than in developed countries.