Thematic online discussion: “Women, political participation and decision- making in Africa”

Tuesday, 11 September, 2007 - 08:43

E-Network of National Gender Equality Machineries in Africa Thematic online discussion: "Women, political participation and decision making in Africa " 4 September - 14 October 2007Voir la v

E-Network of National Gender Equality Machineries in Africa Thematic online discussion: "Women, political participation and decision making in Africa " 4 September - 14 October 2007

Voir la version française plus bas.

Dear Colleagues,

You  are  invited  to  participate in the online discussion on the theme "Women, political participation and decision-making in Africa", which is being  organized  by  the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women/Department  of  Economic  and  Social  Affairs  and  the  Economic Commission  for  Africa  in  cooperation  with the E-Network of National Gender Equality Machineries in Africa .

The  discussion  will  run  for six weeks from 4 September to 14 October 2007.  The purpose of the online discussion is to contribute to a better understanding  of  women's  political  participation  in Africa ; collect measures  taken  at  national  and subregional levels to promote women's participation; identify good practices and lessons learned and highlight gaps and challenges requiring further action.

Registration for the online discussion

To  register,  please  click on the following link to fill out an online

After registration, you will receive an  email with your username and password before the start of the online discussion.

If you have any questions about the registration process, please contact Mr. Rajkumar Cheney Krishnan ( at the Division for the Advancement of Women.

Please feel free to circulate this invitation widely.

We look forward to your participation in the online discussion.

Division for the Advancement of Women
Economic Commission for Africa


In recent years women's political participation has increased in Africa . The  UN  report  " Africa   and  the  Millennium  Development Goals - 2007 Update"  noted  that  the  share  of  parliamentary  seats held by women increased from 7 per cent in 1990 to 17 per cent in 2007, which is close to  the  global  average. In Rwanda , women hold  48.8 percent of seats in the  Lower  House,  the  highest percentage worldwide.  In January 2006, Ellen  Johnson-Sirleaf  became  President  of Liberia and Africa 's first elected  woman  president.  According  to  the  Women's  Environment and Development  Organization  (WEDO), 30% of Africa 's local councillors are women.  Some  countries  have  set quotas or reserved seats for women in national and local legislative bodies.

Despites  this  progress  made,  serious  and persistent obstacles still hinder   the   advancement   of   women   and   their  participation  in decision-making  processes.  Some of the principal obstacles are related to  persistent  poverty,  the lack of equal access to health, education, training  and  employment,  the  impact  of  armed  conflict and natural disasters that affect some of the countries of the region.

The  1995  Beijing  Platform  for  Action emphasized that "women's equal participation  in  decision-making  is  not only a demand for justice or democracy,  but  can  also  be seen as a necessary condition for women's interests  to be taken into account. Without the perspective of women at all  levels  of  decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace   cannot   be   achieved."  The  Platform  defined  two  strategic

objectives: (a) ensure women's equal access to and full participation in all  power  structures  and  decision-  making; and (b) increase women's capacity to participate in decision-making and leadership.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,  in  its  Article  7,  called  upon  States  parties "to take all appropriate  measures  to  eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country". In its resolution 1325 (2000) on  women,  peace and security, the Security Council also reaffirmed the importance  of  the equal participation and full involvement of women in all  efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, as well as the need to increase their role in decision-making.

This  online  discussion  will  support  the  e-Network  of the National Machineries  on Gender Equality in Africa and other stakeholders to work toward  the  increased  participation of  women  in political and other decision-making bodies in Africa .

Themes of the Online Discussion

First week: September 4 - 9:
Introduction: How do you assess the current level of women's participation in decision-making in Africa ?

Second and third weeks: September 10 - 23:
Women's participation in politics: constraints and strategies

Fourth week: September 24-30:
Women's participation in other decision-making processes: education, private sector, civil society and the media

Fifth week: October 1-7:
Building alliances with women in decision-making positions

Sixth week: October 8-14:
Other issues, wrap up and recommendations

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