African Women’s Decade 2010-2020: 2013 annual review
Since the Continental Launch of the African Women’s Decade (AWD) by the African Union (AU) in 2010, have African women’s rights advanced? Make Every Woman Count’s annual review of the AWD aims to evaluate the progress, or lack thereof, being made to include and promote the rights of women at country, regional, and Pan-African levels. This report contains thematic overviews as well as profiles for every country in Africa. It argues that the Decade has added momentum to the African women’s rights agenda and a framework for accelerating actions. Among the report’s findings are the following: - Women’s political participation: Women were overwhelming voted in September 2013 elections at 63.8% of Rwanda's parliamentary seats (lower house) which is a nearly 8% rise since its last elections. Out of 360 seats in Nigeria’s parliament, only 24 are held by women, amounting to 6.7%. In the upper house, women only hold 7 out 109 seats. Nigeria is ranked 128th out of 142 countries in Inter-parliamentary Union’s database for women’s representation. - Reproductive health: Chad and Somalia have the highest maternal death ratios. Equatorial Guinea has reached the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for maternal mortality. In South Africa, contraception is widely available and free at government clinics, with contraceptive prevalence among married women at 60% in 2012. - HIV/AIDS: Over 20% of girls in Botswana aged 15 to 19 are HIV positive. The number of newly infected women in South Africa declined by 28% in the past 3 years. The number of women acquiring HIV infection in Lesotho has declined by 15% since 2009. 31% of the female population in Swaziland is living with HIV, contrasting with 20% of men. - Education: Sao Tome and Principe is one of the countries on track to meet MDG2 for attaining universal primary education by 2015. South Sudan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, and only 16% of girls and women are literate. In Liberia, teen pregnancy, early parenthood and child marriage remain serious barriers to girls’ education. - Violence against women (VAW): Somalia has the world’s highest level of FGM, 98% of Somali women between 15-49 have been cut or mutilated. In a UN survey from April 28th 2013, 99% of women report they have been victims of sexual assault in Egypt. In January 2013, the Moroccan upper house of parliament removed the provision in the penal code that allowed perpetrators to escape prosecution by marrying the victim of the assault. - Economic empowerment: In Nigeria, foreign investment is increasing, and women are clearly a major part of the growing sections of the economy, as well as the more traditional agricultural sectors; however, the unique challenges faced by female entrepreneurs have not been explicitly and comprehensively addressed by Nigeria’s federal or state governments.