Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa on the Occasion of the "International Women's Day"


8 March 2024, Banjul, Republic of The Gambia

On this significant occasion of International Women’s Day, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, through the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, stands with the global community to celebrate women's achievements, resilience, and ongoing struggles across the African continent. We seize this opportunity to reflect on the progress made, acknowledge the challenges that persist, and reiterate our commitment to advancing women's rights and empowerment throughout Africa.

This year's theme, 'Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,' emphasizes the urgent need to prioritize women's investments and expedite progress in our societies. We firmly believe that investing in women is not only a matter of justice and equality but also a strategic imperative for sustainable development. This investment could be through various initiatives, including women's entrepreneurship development programs, girls' education initiatives, maternal and child health programs, women's political empowerment initiatives, and land rights and property ownership programs. Such initiatives demonstrate the importance of targeted interventions that address women's specific needs and challenges while promoting gender equality and women's empowerment across various sectors. When we invest in women, we invest in the future of Africa. 

Moreover, the African Union has chosen 'Educate and Skill Africa for the 21st Century' as its overarching theme for 2024. This theme aligns perfectly with our focus on investing in women. Education and skills development are fundamental pillars of empowerment, providing women with the tools they need to overcome barriers, seize opportunities, and contribute to the development and growth of Africa in the 21st century.

Investing in women requires addressing the persistent challenges and barriers that hinder their progress and limit their opportunities. We must work collectively to eliminate gender-based violence, discrimination, harmful cultural practices, and unequal access to resources and opportunities. By creating an enabling environment that upholds women's rights, promotes gender equality, and ensures their meaningful participation in decision-making processes, we pave the way for a more just, inclusive, and prosperous Africa.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights calls upon African governments, civil society organizations, international partners, and all stakeholders to intensify their efforts in investing in women. We must allocate sufficient resources, develop comprehensive policies, and implement targeted programs that address the specific needs and challenges women in Africa face. By doing so, we unlock the full potential of women, accelerate progress towards gender equality, and foster sustainable development and peace in our continent.

Let us reaffirm our commitment to promoting and protecting women's rights on this International Women's Day. Together, let us invest in women and create a future where African women can thrive, lead, fulfill their aspirations, and enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms.

In solidarity,

Hon. Vice-Chair Janet Ramatoulie Sallah-Njie
Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights