Empowering Africa’s Women: Pan-African Parliament Proposes Model Law to Accelerate Gender Equality


Pan-African Parliament Committee on Gender, Family, Youth, and People with Disability during the Sixth PAP Second Ordinary Session. Image from PAP Media

In a remarkable step towards advancing gender equality in Africa, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has initiated discussions on the creation of a Model Law on Gender Equality. This groundbreaking legislative framework seeks to enable national governments to modernize, standardize, and harmonize their laws to address local needs. The initiative was recently deliberated in a sitting of the Committee on Gender, Family, Youth, and People with Disability during the Sixth PAP Second Ordinary Session.

The Committee, responsible for developing the preliminary report on the Framework for the Model Law on Gender Equality, expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far in formulating this transformative legislation. The Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala, emphasized the importance of creating a law that would cater to the diverse cultures and religions found across the continent. Hon Dao-Gabala emphasized, “The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political, and social development of the continent. Women are not well-positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity.”

One of the crucial aspects the Model Law aims to address is the migratory movements of women. Recognizing the need to ensure that migrant women enjoy their rights and live with dignity in their destination countries, the Committee believes that addressing this issue at the continental level is essential. To consolidate the contributions of various stakeholders, the Gender Committee undertook consultations with organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Labour Organization, the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, and UN Women. These consultations will form the logical framework for the Model Law, providing a comprehensive and inclusive approach.

In addition to the discussions on the Model Law, the Committee also considered a report on the Ratification of the Legal Instruments of the African Union (AU) by AU Member States. This report, which highlights the role of parliamentarians in the ratification process, was also recommended for tabling before the Plenary Session. The capacity-building workshop centered on scrutinizing various existing protocols and treaties adopted by the AU, further emphasizing the commitment to strengthening legal instruments that safeguard gender equality across the continent.

The discussions surrounding the Model Law on Gender Equality demonstrate a collective determination to promote the rights and empowerment of women in Africa. By fostering an environment where women can actively participate in all spheres of life, the Model Law seeks to create a more inclusive and equitable society. The ongoing efforts of the Pan-African Parliament and its partners highlight the significance of collaborative action in achieving gender equality and driving the continent’s social and economic development.

As the Sixth PAP Second Ordinary Session continues under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area,” hopes are high that the discussions will yield a robust and forward-looking Model Law on Gender Equality. The Plenary Session will deliberate on the preliminary report, bringing us one step closer to a future where African women can thrive and contribute fully to their societies, unimpeded by obstacles that hinder their progress. With continued dedication and inclusive legislative reforms, Africa is poised to set new standards in gender equality, empowering women and shaping a brighter future for all.

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