Women’s rights in Africa

  1. Historic appointment of woman as Togo prime minister

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Togo's President Faure Gnassingbé has appointed the country's first ever female prime minister.

    Victoire Tomegah Dogbé is ​an economics and marketing graduate and had held a senior post in the president's office.

    Before that she spent a decade as the minister of grass roots development and youth employment.

    She had earlier worked for the United Nations Development Programme.

  2. Feminist backlash over Nigerian train stations

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Dora Akunyili
    Image caption: Critics say women like the late Dora Akunyili, pictured, should have been honoured

    Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has faced criticism after listing only one woman in the renaming of railway stations.

    On Monday, Mr Buhari named 23 train stations after “deserving Nigerians” seen to have contributed to the progress and development of their communities and the country.

    Among those named were former Nigerian leaders, serving ministers and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka.

    But Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, a feminist and activist who was also mother of late Afrobeat music legend Fela Kuti, was the only woman honoured.

    Some on social media have likened this announcement to the president's previous appointments - like in 2019 when only seven women, out of the 43, were appointed as ministers.

    They have suggested that women who deserved to be honoured include Stella Adadevoh, the medical doctor who died preventing Ebola from spreading in Nigeria, and Dora Akunyili, who spearheaded the crusade against fake drugs before her death in 2014.

    Former lawmaker Shehu Sani has asked the president to name a station in Kaduna after the female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, who died two weeks ago in an accident.

  3. Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus in Nigeria: Changing women's representation through photography

    Etinosa Yvonne's photographs challenge stereotypical representations of women during the pandemic.

  4. Nigeria governors declare emergency over rape

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Protesters against rape in Nigeria

    Nigerian governors have declared a state of emergency over rape and violence against women and children in the country.

    This follows a spike in cases of gender-based violence during the recent lockdown imposed in some states to limit the spread of coronavirus.

    In a statement, the 36 governors strongly condemned all forms of violence against women and children, and said they were “committed to ensuring that offenders face the maximum weight of the law”.

    The chairman of the governors’ forum, Kayode Fayemi, said they have asked Nigeria’s police to provide a detailed report on action taken to strengthen their response to sexual and gender-based violence.

    They also committed to create a sex offenders register in each state and increase funding to tackle the problem.

    Protests have been held across the country and on social media over the last two weeks to call for justice for rape victims.

    The number of successful prosecutions of rape suspects remains low and stigma often prevents victims from reporting incidents.

    The results of a survey published by NOIPolls in July 2019 suggested that up to one in every three girls living in Nigeria could have experienced at least one form of sexual assault by the time they reach 25.


  5. Nigerian protesters demand end to rape culture

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    In Nigeria's main cities of Lagos and Abuja, rights campaigners have been out on the streets to express anger following several recent cases of sexual violence against young women - including gang rapes.

    Here were the scenes outside the police headquarters in the capital city, Abuja:

    Protesters wearing face mask, hold placards and banners outside the Nigerian Police Headquarters in Abuja
    Protesters wearing face mask, hold placards and banners outside the Nigerian Police Headquarters in Abuja
    A woman is consoled by a man as protesters carries a banner outside the Nigerian Police Headquarters in Abuja

    Over the last week the hashtag #JusticeforUwa has been trending on social media after a 22-year-old student, Vera Uwaila Omosuwa, was raped inside a church and died two days later after being bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.

    Dozens of women carrying placards urged the authorities to do more to protect women and girls and to seek justice for the victims.

    Earlier this week, Nigerian police said they were immediately deploying more people to investigate cases of gender-based violence.

    • If you have been affected by sexual abuse or violence in Nigeria, help and support is available at Naptip.
  6. Nigerian men arrested for raping 12-year-old girl

    Celestina Olulode

    BBC News

    A woman with head bowed holds out her hand in protest
    Image caption: The country has an extremely low conviction rate for rape and sexual abuse

    Twelve men have been arrested in Nigeria, accused of repeatedly raping a 12-year-old girl over a two-month period.

    Police in the north-western state of Jigawa were alerted to the alleged crime when they received a complaint about a man in his 50s luring the girl to a hidden place so he could have sex with her.

    During a police interview the girl said that 11 other men had also raped her.

    She is now in hospital and police have told the BBC there is medical evidence of rape.

    The incident follows the killings in the last week of two young women that have sparked widespread anger.

    In one case, the family of 22-year-old student Uwavera Omozuwa say she was raped inside a church and bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher in the city of Benin.

    In the other, a 16-year-old was shot dead by a policeman in Lagos.

    Amnesty International has said that although rape is a crime in Nigeria, the rising number of attacks is due to the failure of law enforcement.

    The country has an extremely low conviction rate for rape and sexual abuse.

  7. African oil firms join gender equality campaign

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    A picture taken on March 26, 2017, shows an oil drilling block managed by British company Tullow Oil at Lokichar

    Seven African oil and gas companies have adopted a global campaign to ensure women are treated equally with men in the energy industry by 2030.

    The "Equal by 30 Campaign" urges companies and governments to advance gender equality, especially issues like equal pay, opportunities for women to advance to leadership positions and to play a role in green energy, by 2030.

    The campaign is a joint initiative, spearheaded by the Canadian government and the International Energy Agency, which views participation by women in the industry as crucial.

    It wants to end discrimination, so that women are engaged in at least half of the jobs in the industry, compared to the current level of 20%.

    Although the situation is slightly better in the green energy businesses, where women are doing one in three jobs.

    The African Energy Chamber, which is pressing companies across the continent, says employment of women should not be put forward because of political sensitivities, but because they bring value and different skills to the industry.

    The global campaign now has 144 signatories, including 118 organisations and 13 governments, but so far no African governments.

    Energy companies in Africa now supporting the campaign include Apex Industries in Egypt, Kenya's Tsavo Oil Field Services, South Africa-based DWMA Resources, plus the investment platform Africa Oil and Power.

  8. Benin leader orders probe into #MeToo allegations

    Khady Lo

    BBC Afrique, Dakar

    Angéla Kpeidja and Pricile Kpogbeme
    Image caption: Angéla Kpeidja (l) and Pricile Kpogbeme say the sexual abuse of women is widespread in Benin's media industry

    Beninese President Patrice Talon has ordered investigations into allegations of sexual harassment made by two female journalists.

    Angéla Kpeidja, who works for the national television station ORTB, and Pricile Kpogbeme made claims of sexual harassment and abuse in separate Facebook posts.

    Ms Kpeidja's post on 1 May condemned the "silence in frustration" among women journalists.

    Ms Kpogbeme marked World Press Freedom Day on 3 May with a video post that highlighted the abuse she has faced in her career.

    She said women were regarded as "sex objects" in the media industry and that she was unemployed because she refused the sexual advances of those in authority.

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    President Talon said he had met the ORTB heads and Ms Kpeidja and ordered investigations into the allegations.

    "I am already convinced that the action taken by Ms Angela Kpeidja will be the trigger for a new dawn to ensure that victims of sexual abuse are better protected in our country," he said in a Facebook post.

    The ORTB management said it "has not received any complaints of moral or sexual harassment or rape of female staff".

    The two women have received support from their peers on social media.

    Beninese President Patrice Talon
    Image caption: President Patrice Talon has met one of the female journalists who made the claims