Measuring Gender Inequality In Africa - Experiences & Lessons From The African Gender Development Index - African Women's Report 2009
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) presents one of its flagship publications, the 2009 African Women’s Report. The report’s theme: Measuring Gender Inequality in Africa: Experiences and Lessons From the African Gender and Development Index, is opportune as African countries are being urged to improve their statistical systems and data collection methods to respond to development concerns. This includes the need to accelerate gender equality in the social, economic and political fields. The central message of the report is that gender equality cannot be adequately implemented and monitored without appropriate data.
The African Gender and Development Index (AGDI) seeks to invigorate gender statistical data collection in Africa as a monitoring tool of progress being made in implementing global, regional and sub regional commitments on gender equality. The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) (CEDAW) is the first ever global treaty to give full and effective expression to the economic, social and cultural rights of women in addition to their political and civil rights. The International Conference on Population and Development (1994) and the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995) in concert with their respective follow-up meetings of +5, +10 and +15, and the United Nations Millennium Declaration (2000), all constitute important global agenda-setting frameworks for the achievement of gender equality.
At the regional level, the rights of African women have been given holistic impetus with the entering into force of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in 2005 under the auspices of the African Union (AU). The introduction of other initiatives, such as the Declaration of the Southern African Development Community on Gender and Development (1997), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (2001) and the Solemn Declaration of African Heads of States on Gender Equality (2004) also enhance regional perspectives on women’s rights. These instruments provide the basis for holding governments accountable for advancing the status of women in their respective countries. Women’s marginalization is deeply rooted in the historical, political and socio-cultural context of Africa’s development. While some improvements and successes are evident, the substance and pace of change have not been executed with the momentum and urgency required to catapult Africa’s present stage of development to the level of results needed.
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