Are African Women rising? Assessing Women's Economic and Political Agency in Contemporary Africa
Justine Ayuk Etah

Gender equality, and the political and economic advancement of women is a development goal in its own rights, and a necessary sustainable development strategy. This largely explains the increased global, regional, and country-specific efforts aimed at eliminating gender inequalities, particularly inequalities between women and men in access to economic and political resources and opportunities. Between 2000 and 2014, Africa was celebrated as the world's GDP miracle, and a period with seemingly more excellent openings for gender equality and women's economic and political advancement, captured within the African women rising narrative. Drawing mainly from Africa's performances on Global Gender Equality Indexes, the African Gender Equality Index, and the Social Institution and Gender Equality Index, this paper demonstrates that the observed euphoria ushered by the African rising narrative a decade ago does not reflect the real situations of gender equality and women's empowerment in contemporary Africa. Gender inequalities in access to economic opportunities and participation, and inequalities in political participation still constitute a significant barrier to realizing the full potential of African women, with varied implications for the region's sustainable development. Gender equality strategies, therefore, needs to go beyond advocacy for the numeric presence of women in the economic and political sphere (justified by global and regional numeric rankings) to critically address the root causes of oppression that limits the potentials of all women and not just women of the privileged elite class.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v11n1a1