AfHDR 2016 – pathways to reduce persistent gender inequality

Nov 28, 2016

Rt. Hon. Sheku BB Dumbuya, Speaker of parliament and Sylvia O Blyden, Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs jointly launching the report © Alpha Sesay/ UNDP Sierra Leone

Freetown November 28, 2016: The 2016 African Human Development Report (AHDR) launched today offers pathways to reducing the persistent gender inequality in Africa.

The report titled “Accelerating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa,” highlights deeply-rooted structural obstacles such as unequal distribution of resources, power and wealth, combined with social institutions and norms that sustain inequality holding African women, and the rest of the continent, back.

This is the 2nd edition of the AHDR since it was first launched in 2012. In Sierra Leone, the report is jointly launched by UNDP, Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs. The report estimates that a 1 percent increase in gender inequality reduces a country’s human development index by 0.75 percent.

According to the report, gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan $US95 billion a year, peaking at US$ 105 billion in 2014 – or six percent of the region’s GDP – jeopardizing the continent’s efforts for inclusive human development and economic growth. 

Tackling contradiction between legal provisions and practice in gender law; breaking down harmful social norms; transforming discriminatory institutional settings; and securing women’s economic, social and political participation are concrete actions African governments must take to end holding the continent’s women back, the report suggests.

The Report notes that women in Sierra Leone achieve only 81.4 percent of the levels of men in health, education and command over economic resources, which is significantly below the level of 87 percent achieved by women in Sub-Saharan Africa in general. This means that women in Sierra Leone have less choices, freedoms, capabilities and opportunities to lead long and healthy lives, be educated, and enjoy a decent standard of living compared to women in other Sub-Saharan African countries.

The African Human Development Report traditionally addresses relevant issues of public interest which are scrutinized from a human development lens in Africa. The launch was witnessed by representatives of government ministries, departments and agencies, ambassadors, high commissioners, parliamentarians, development partners, policy-makers, gender activists, academicians, media, civil society and officials of the United Nations.

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