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Africa Human Development Report 2016

Accelerating Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Africa

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This 2016 Africa Human Development Report on gender equality follows the 2012 Africa Human Development Report, which looked at the importance of assuring food security for all Africans. The two reports share a common objective of addressing what might be considered two unfinished agenda items on Africa’s development trajectory. Both have long been recognized as important priorities for the governments and citizens of African countries. This year’s report on gender equality reviews the ongoing efforts of African countries to accelerate the pace of assuring women’s empowerment through all spheres of society – in the home and community, in health and educational attainment, in the workplace, and in political participation and leadership. While significant progress has been made across numerous fronts in most countries, gender equality for African women and girls is still far from satisfactory. This report adopts a political economy approach to gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa.

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Overview

From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 68 years ago, to the Millennium Declaration 15 years ago, and to the Sustainable Development Goals today, global attention remains focused on promoting human rights and eliminating discrimination and inequitable outcomes for women, men, girls and boys. However, despite widespread recognition of women’s rights and the benefits that accrue to all of society from equitable treatment and access to resources and opportunities for women and men, inequalities persist. At the regional and national levels, there is growing recognition that as African women attain higher measures of economic and social well-being, benefits accrue to all of society; despite this growing understanding, removing inequalities for women has not kept pace. Significant gaps between men’s and women’s opportunities remain a major challenge and a severe impediment to structural economic and social transformation that is still the goal of all African countries.

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