Gender - Women
Africa lags behind in education gender parity
afrol News, 5 July - Although about 90 percent of African constitutions endorse gender equality and affirmative action, only 11 countries have achieved parity in secondary education, a new study shows.
Abdoulie Janneh of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) presented these disappointing numbers at seminar in New York.
Mr Janneh said women's participation in executive, judicial, traditional and other public spheres was still visibly low across most African countries, while women's participation in non-agricultural wage employment was mainly at lower echelons and worst, at eight percent, in the security forces.
Generally, he said, while Africa had been making mixed progress across sub-regions, "chances of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) achievements in their entirety are very unlikely across countries." He said external shocks were influencing the achievement of the MDGs in Africa, including conflicts, slow pace of political and economic governance, and the global financial crisis.
But Mr Janneh said Africa had a success story in the area of universal primary education, where there had been "boy-girl enrolment parity in some countries" - including The Gambia, Gabon, Malawi, Mauritius, Mauritania, Namibia, Rwanda, Săo Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles and Uganda - and was "imminent in others" such as Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania.
In spite of this success, said Mr Janneh, serious challenges remained with the "retention, progression to higher levels, violence against girls and increasing signs of boy dropouts in a number of African countries."
He said while North Africa was on track regarding progress towards the MDG target on reducing child mortality, insufficient progress was being made in East Africa, West Africa, while there was no progress in Southern Africa and Central Africa towards meeting the target.
Mr Janneh also held that the impacts of climate change on rural livelihoods were not gender neutral, as they deepened and widened existing gender inequalities in areas such as food insecurity, ill health and increased water stress. "Women and young girls in many African countries," said Mr Janneh, "still have to walk longer distances in search of water and to care for the sick."
Stating that scant attention was generally paid in Africa to the interface between gender and climate change in policy design and implementation, Mr Janneh said UNECA should focus more on the issue.
By staff writer
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