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Operational Working Group on Gender Policy Advocacy in Cameroon Deepens Reflections on Women’s Economic Rights

The Operational Working Group on Gender Policy Advocacy in Cameroon held its session in Yaounde March 25th 2022 at the St Muna Foundation. Hosted by the Nkafu Policy Institute at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, the session brought together members of the Operational Working Group put in place by the  Foundation within the framework of the WERC project on Promoting Women’s Economic Rights in Cameroon.

Opening the session, officials of the foundation said the purpose of the Operational Working group on women economic rights  themed; Gender Policy Advocacy in Cameroon was was to effectively advance gender issues through policy advocacy

 In Cameroon, women represent half of the total population (World Bank, 2020). Despite government initiatives to ensure gender equality, women continue to suffer many injustices.  They are continually discriminated against and remain in a state of poverty and underemployment. According to a report released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2019, 43.2% of unionized women faced domestic violence. Of these women, 39.8% experienced emotional abuse and 14.5% experienced sexual abuse. In total, 56.4% of unionized women have experienced at least one of these forms of violence. These inequalities are also manifested in many other areas such as property rights (only 3% of women own a house without a land title and 1.6% have a land title in their name); access to education (32.5% of women over 25 years of age have

attained a secondary level of education compared to 39.2% of men); access to decision-making positions (only 33.89% of women in parliament in 2020); access to maternal health care and access to credit. Given the challenges of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the impact of women’s empowerment on economic growth (UN, 2015), in-depth advocacy to reduce persistent gender inequalities is crucial today. It is within this framework that the Nkafu Policy Institute, a Think Tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, is organizing this workshop to discuss ways to advance gender policy in Cameroon through an advocacy approach.

The event’s objective, the organizers said was  to examine ways in which gender issues can effectively be advanced in Cameroon through policy advocacy. Specifically, it examined the gender inequalities in Cameroon, identify the challenges women face in overcoming the gender gap  and also examined alternative ways in advocating for gender equality in Cameroon while expecting that members will  come out with a comprehensive approach to enhance evidence-based policy recommendations that stakeholders will take into consideration in advocating for meaningful gender equality and equity in Cameroon.