A conference on gender equality in Africa, organised by UK based charity Send a Cow has heard how young married African women are the most invisible” in cross-country data on women and girls.
Last week’s Big Debate at City Hall in London explored the question of how gender equality might be achieved across the continent. The event was attended by more than 200 people who listened to panellists from the UK, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States on the key issues curbing the development of women in Africa, including education, law, and domestic violence.
Among those speaking at the event was Joyce Majiwa, a Kenyan lawyer and trustee of Send a Cow Kenya, who said that the key to equality was ensuring that women had equal rights in law: without this, women were vulnerable.
‘‘The chances of poverty are very real for women if they are not protected by law in property, particularly in the case of women who are divorced,” Ms Majiwa said.
“We have to show men that there is more benefit in sharing power than fighting over power. Not only sharing words, but practically, sharing power and duties,” she added.
Illustrating her point, she described Send a Cow projects in Kenya in which men and women worked together and benefited from increased income, more food, and clean water. “Men and women alike realised the positive benefits of shared power and responsibility,” she said.
Pindie Nyandoro, the regional chief executive of event sponsors Standard Bank, agreed that African culture needed to be redefined to break down the barriers stopping women and girls reaching their potential.