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Africans back gender equality, but gaps persist; governments urged to do more

By Afrobarometer
Research Findings Africans back gender equality, but gaps persist; governments urged to do more
SUN, 24 DEC 2023 LISTEN

A majority of Africans express support for gender equality in politics, land ownership, and hiring, the latest Afrobarometer Pan-Africa Profile shows.

But the report, based on nationally representative surveys in 39 African countries, also documents persistent gender gaps, showing that women continue to trail men in education, ownership of key assets, and control over household financial decisions.

And while most citizens say women should have the same chance of being elected to public office as men, a majority also think women who seek election are likely to face criticism or harassment.

African governments receive relatively positive ratings for their efforts to promote gender equality, but nearly two-thirds of citizens say more needs to be done.

Key findings

  • On average across 39 African countries, a sizeable and (slowly) growing majority (75%) of citizens say women should have the same chance of being elected to public office as men (Figure 1).
    • But more than half (52%) say that a woman who runs for office is likely to be criticised or harassed (Figure 2).
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of Africans say women should have the same rights as men to own and inherit land. But views vary widely by country, with support for equality dropping as low as 31% in Mauritania (Figure 3).
    • A narrower majority (58%) endorse women’s equal right to jobs, with support ranging from 32% in Madagascar to 80% in Cabo Verde.
  • Among persistent gender gaps documented in survey findings, women are less likely than men to have secondary or post-secondary education (51% vs. 59%) (Figure 4).
    • Women also trail men in ownership of key productive assets such as motor vehicles (15% vs. 31%) and bank accounts (34% vs. 43%).
    • Similarly, women are less likely than men to say they make household financial decisions themselves (35% vs. 44%).
  • Governments get relatively positive marks (56% approval) for their efforts to promote gender equality (Figure 5), but nearly two-thirds (63%) of citizens say their governments should be doing more (Figure 6).

Afrobarometer surveys
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Nine survey rounds in up to 42 countries have been completed since 1999. Round 9 surveys (2021/2023) include 53,444 interviews in 39 countries.

Afrobarometer’s national partners conduct face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice that yield country-level results with margins of error of +/-2 to +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. The data are weighted to ensure nationally representative samples. When reporting multi-country averages, all countries are weighted equally (rather than in proportion to population size).

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