Mind the Gap: African Development Bank launches Gender Equality Index for Africa

25/05/2015
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The African Development Bank’s Gender Equality Index shows how to make gender equality a reality

The African Development Bank unveiled on Monday, May 25 the first-ever Gender Equality Index for Africa, aimed at informing policies to transform economies and to propel governments to adopt an ambitious agenda for making gender equality a reality throughout the continent.

The Index is published at a time when women’s empowerment is on the top of the African agenda: the African Union has declared 2015 the year of Women’s Empowerment and Progress Towards Agenda 2063, to optimize resources to the benefit of all Africans.

What is more, the Index’s release is during a year when the international community is laying out a transformative plan for sustainable and inclusive development. The proposed goal on gender equality, in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) replacing the Millennium Development Goals, sets out a stronger objective on gender equality with more ambitious targets, while gender and women’s empowerment cuts across all the other goals.

“Africa is at a watershed moment:  after a decade of unprecedented growth, African countries are generating more resources to invest in development,” said AfDB President Donald Kaberuka. “Africa needs to use these resources to invest in the skills and talents of its women and all its citizens, which will transform economies and societies. The time is now.”

The Index is the most comprehensive measurement of the state of gender equality across 52 out of 54 African countries: it examines the position of women as producers, in human development, and as active citizens and leaders, to provide African governments with a benchmark to evaluate the effectiveness of policies to advance gender equality. The Index provides maps for each area.

The Index is a starting point on gauging gender equality. The AfDB intends to involve other experts and policymakers to continue to enrich and improve the Index at the Annual Meetings and future meetings.

Drawing on a large body of gender research in Africa, the Index sets out a plan of action for countries to accelerate gender balance in eight areas: land, financial services, infrastructure connections, education and skills, health and reproductive rights, personal safety, equality before the law, and voice and representation.

“Empowering African women is essential to enabling African societies to achieve their potential,” said AfDB Special Envoy on Gender, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi. “Our aim is to spark dialogue and inform debate on gender equality at national and regional levels, and wherever Africa’s development is on the global agenda.”

To download a copy of the Gender Equality Index, visit: http://www.afdb.org/en/topics-and-sectors/sectors/gender/.


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