Sahel Region of Africa – Gender Inequality & State Fragility in the Africa Sahel
Date: November 24, 2016
Gender Inequality & State Fragility in the Africa Sahel
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There is increasing commitment among international actors to integrate a gender perspective into support for fragile and conflict affected states (FCAS). This commitment is expressed in the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1325 on women security and peace (SCR 1325), which calls for ‘women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security’; in the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, agreed by fragile countries, development partners and international organisations in 2011, which states that ‘the empowerment of women […] is at the heart of successful peacebuilding and state building’; and in the policies of numerous multilateral and bilateral donors. However, despite these commitments, in practice international engagement in FCAS-fragile and conflicted affected states-frequently overlooks the complex connections and mutually-reinforcing relationship between gender inequality and the weak governance, under-development and conflicts that characterise these states.
This oversight is particularly glaring in the Sahel. Sahelien states are not only deeply fragile, but also, according to the United Nations (UN), have the highest levels of gender inequality in the world. Across the region, women’s profound political, economic and social exclusion is both exacerbated by and contributes to fragility dynamics, and acts as a barrier to effective peacebuilding. The Sahel desperately requires an international response that takes gender seriously.