Women's rights

African women are strong and brilliant. They have won Nobel prizes and they grow 70% of Africa's food. Women's movements played a critical role in independence and anti-apartheid struggles and have been increasingly visible since the 1990s - speaking out, claiming rights and changing their lives for the better. More and more of women are holding public office in Africa, several African countries are reaching parity in girls and boys enrollment in primary school, and women's earnings are increasing.

Yet African women are still second-class citizens in their societies, as women are all over the world. Africa has some of the most progressive gender legislation in the world, but the reality does not live up to what is on paper.

Woman with megaphone

The World Social Forum in Nairobi, 2007. Photo: ACORD / Elijah Lutwama.

Gender discrimination is embedded in all the structures of our societies. In every area of life in Africa the statistics1 tell the same story:

  • more than 50% of women say they do not control decisions on their own healthcare
  • women are paid 30% less than men
  • women account for almost 60% of HIV infections in Africa
  • women hold only 19% of ministerial positions in government
  • maternal mortality in Africa is 100 times higher than in rich countries

ACORD is working to strengthen the capacity of women and girls to claim their rights and meet their own needs.

Download a 4 page brief on ACORD's work to empower women. (Updated in July 2017)

My body, my rights. Respect them!

Globally, one in five women is likely to be raped or sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Violence against women pervades our lives and infiltrates our minds, beliefs and attitudes.

Read more about ACORD's campaign to end impunity for violence against women now!

Land rights for women

In Sub-Saharan Africa women are responsible for 80% of crop production but own less than 1% of land. Women are the key to unlocking hunger in Africa and that is why we believe that women need to be the focus of support for change.

Read more about ACORD's work on women and land rights now!

Row of women with mattocks

Women farmers in Burundi. Photo: KaiProd