Advancing Gender Equality

Case Studies from Across the Commonwealth

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The Commonwealth Secretariat has been a pioneer in promoting women’s rights and gender equality since the 1976–85 UN Decade for Women, and of gender mainstreaming since the UN 4th World Conference on Women, to which our 1995 Plan of Action on Gender and Development was a Commonwealth contribution.

This publication brings together case studies prepared in connection with the end-of-term review of the 2005–15 Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality. The case studies are based on submissions and interviews with government representatives, gender specialists and other stakeholders, including civil society organisations, from 20 countries representing all regions of the Commonwealth.

The examples were selected to demonstrate a range of strategies that can be employed to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. Together they help to show what perpetuates gender inequality and offer approaches that can be adopted to help end unjust discrimination.



Nigerian Women's Trust Fund to Strengthen Women's Political Participation, Nigeria

Since the cessation of military rule in Nigeria in 1999, the state has made a steady and remarkable transition to democracy. However, the participation of women in this democratisation process has been far from equal with that of men. There are major and continuing constraints against women’s participation in political processes at all levels, stemming from resource limitations, traditional gender roles and associated cultural norms. Nonetheless, in recent years there has been a small, but significant, increase in the number of appointments of women to leadership positions at the national and local levels. Whereas in 1999 women represented only 1.2 per cent of the officials occupying seats in local government councils, in 2007, women accounted for 9.4 per cent of local councils and held 4.6 per cent of the positions of council chairperson (Government of Nigeria 2015).


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