African Women?s Report 2009: Measuring Gender Inequality in Africa: Experiences and Lessons from the African Gender and Development Index
by: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
The development of an index that best suits the needs and aspirations of the continentis timely as the region takes stock of progress in gender equality through the accountability processes of ICPD +15 and Beijing +15 reviews of 2009. The African Women?s Report (AWR) is also being launched at a time when the world observes 30 years of existence and implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
The core objective of the New Partnership for Africa?s Development is to underscore the importance of Africa?s lead role and ownership in finding solutions to problems affecting the continent. The gathering of information and data is vital to achieving this goal.
The report highlights difficulties that countries are facing with respect to the full realisation of women?s rights due, among other things, to the persistence of negative cultural and religious beliefs and attitudes towards women. High Maternal Mortality Rates as highlighted during the ICPD and Beijing +15 regional reviews of October and November 2009 and further established in the AWR is an issue of catastrophic concern.
The AWR also demonstrates the different and changing dimensions of gender inequality being experienced in some countries, especially with respect to child health where there are increasing signs of male stunting, malnutrition and school drop out rates. These outcomes are not an indication of the need to reduce investments in affirmative action in favour of the girl child. They rather demonstrate lack of precise and targeted planning and implementation using tools such as disaggregated data.