Africa’s governments urged to take action on gender equality in the wake of COVID-19


AFRICA’S GOVERNMENTS are being urged to speed up their commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women to help address the impact of COVID-19.

Following a recent virtual  meeting between the African Union Commission (AUC) and civil society organisations (CSOs) ranging from community groups, non-governmental organizations [NGOs], labour unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, a Declaration and call to action was issued pledging to scale up actions to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender-specific concerns.


During the meeting the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira El-Fadil, called for enhanced collaboration between the AU, its Member States, development partners and CSOs to create and strengthen social protection systems which reduce the social  and economic risks faced by women.

Also highlighted at the meeting was the fact that a key challenge facing women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic was the increased exposure to sexual and gender-based violence

Executive Director of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Martha Muhwezi, acknowledged the social, cultural and economic injustices that have resulted from the pandemic, including the surging cases of gender-based violence (GBV) and the increase number of teenage pregnancies.


For example a reported 4000 teenage pregnancies were recorded between March and June this year in Kenya. 

Lehau Victoria Maloka, the Acting Director of the Women, Gender and Development Directorate of the African Union  underlined the need to find collaborative and cooperative ways to push forward the gender equality agenda on the continent.

She emphasized the role of the civil societies in ensuring policies, programs and investments at all levels respond to the specific risks, vulnerabilities and challenges faced by women, girls and those living in the rural areas including those living with disabilities.