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Regarding the commission on the status of women 2010, hopes and fears

Apr 9, 2010, 12:28 PM

The Africa Regional NGO Shadow Report on Beijing +15 provides a summarized analysis of progress, gaps and challenges in the West, Eastern and Southern sub-regions from the women's NGOs in the Region. It also maps out the progress, gaps and challenges under each of the critical areas of concern, providing country specific examples and some of the significant contributions that have been made by women activists in Africa. In several instances the Report indicates that the numerous policies and action plans developed and/ or reviewed in the last five years, though greatly considered as commendable in building the framework for delivering on the commitments in the Beijing PfA, these have taken huge resources with minimal results to show as evidence of fundamental changes in the daily realities of women’s lives in Africa. Finally, the report gives actionable recommendations to African governments in order to accelerate the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action over the next 5 years - to move

the commitments to action.
The Beijing + 15 Review in 2009/ 2010 is an opportunity for women in Africa to examine their respective governments' efforts and those of the other non- state actors at implementing the PfA. It is also an opportunity for holding African leaders and governments accountable for commitments made for women's empowerment, gender equality and the promotion of women's human rights under the Beijing Declaration and PfA. Women organizations are also called upon to intensify efforts to ensure that the targets and goals set in the PfA are achieved especially as part of the realization of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

An International Women's NGO Coordinating Committee was formed at the 2009 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), consisting of members from each region worldwide. In addition each Region set up a task force. The Regional Women NGO task forces are responsible for ensuring that each country for example in Africa, delivers a document identifying 12 key accomplishments that have been made since Beijing + 10 Review process in 2004, and 12 key areas where critical gaps remain that governments must commit to addressing leading up the 2010 NGO Forum on Beijing + 15.

For more information on the Beijing Platform for Action visit:


And the FEMNET website www.femnet.or.ke Other related websites regarding the CSW can be reached at most of the UN Websites.

Analysis by Sub-Region West Africa

An analysis of the implementation of the BPFA in 15 countries by WILDAF?WA titled; Women's rights implementation in West Africa: What has been achieved so far?, acknowledges that since 2005, visible progress has been recorded in the area of promoting, protecting and fulfillment of African women’s rights.

The table below shows one area of progress, with 11 of the 15 countries under review having ratified the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. However, the report notes that despite the ratification of international and regional human rights instruments, limited measures have been taken at national levels for their incorporation into domestic law and for implementation. Conflicts persist between written law and customary/ traditional and/or religious laws and practices.

Discrimination on the basis of gender and religious fundamentalism are also noted as factors compromising women's enjoyment of full rights and fundamental

In the area of education, the report points out that in the period under review, West African countries have adopted targeted strategies to reach the poorest families and encourage girls' education. For example, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Togo have established free schooling for pre primary and/or primary school education. Other strategies include waiving the parent teacher association fees for parents of girls entering primary school. Some countries like Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, have also adopted laws punishing sexual harassment and any other sexual violence on children in school. In some states in Northern Nigeria, mothers are allowed to resume their formal education with their babies. Pregnant girls also have the opportunity to continue their courses and are supported to take the critical level exams to avoid dropping out of school. A law in the State of Kano, Nigeria, punishes girls' withdrawal from the school system for reasons of marriage. In 2008, Mali joined the Convention of UNESCO on Equal Access to Education between girls and boys, and Guinea Bissau established parity in awarding scholarships inside and outside the country.

State of Ratification of Women's rights International and regional Instruments by West African States


COUNTRY         CEDAW                    Optional Protocol to the CEDAW           AU Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa

Benin                12 March 1992           December 2004                                   13 October 2005

Burkina Faso     28 November 1984      26 July 2005                                        09 August 2006

Cape Verde        05 December 1980              -                                                22 July 2005

Côte d’Ivoire       18 December 1995              -                                                Not ratified

The Gambia       16 April 1993                      -                                                06 September 2005

Ghana               1986                               2009                                             20 July 2007

Guinea               17 July 1981                  Not ratified                                      Not ratified

Guinea Bissau    1985                             February 2008                                 14 October 2008

Liberia                15 July 2008                         -                                             15 July 2008

Mali                   10 September 1985        5 December 2000                            03 February 2005

Niger                  13 September1999        30 March 2004                                Not ratified

Nigeria                1985                            September 2000                             18 February 2005

Senegal               05 February 1985         10 December 2000                          30 January 2005

Sierra Leone        1988                            2000                                              Not ratified

Togo    26 September 1983       Not ratified        26 October 2005