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The challenge of gender equality in Africa

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Edna Macassi is 35 years old, pregnant with her third child, and a vendor at the Asa Aranca market in Luanda. She grew up and created her own business in the same market where her mother used to sell.

"I go to school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On the market days when I don't go to school , I come here. Practically to sell I used to follow mom, she used to take me to the market, from there I started to create that strength and I am also here at the market selling"

Edna is part of a social class that represents more than 60% of economically active women outside the formal sector, in developing countries, who hardly have access to basic social protection services.

"After this Pandemic, the great challenge will be to face and solve the problems that have worsened in our countries, due to the confinements and the economic retraction, namely domestic violence, gender-based violence, unemployment, particularly female unemployment, because it is women who have more difficulties in maintaining employment in a situation of crisis" says Ana Dias Lourenço, the Angolan First Lady.

According to the UN Women advisor domestic violence and sexual harassment are two of the main factors that prevent women to access or remain in the formal labor market. Rosalina Nhachote who is a Consultant for UN Women believes one of the big challenges in the labor sector is dealing with issues about sexual harassment in the workplace.

The latest update of the gender barometer at the Southern African Development Community level points to a setback of at least 5 years on issues of safeguarding women's rights.

Despite the current situation, there are several stories of overcoming, where African women occupy prominent places, a little around the world, the most recent example is the election of Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to the top post of the World Trade Organization.

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