In the past years, African culture has been heavily criticised for not giving due respect to African women. As a matter of fact, many campaigns that sought gender equality have been launched against practices like Female Genital Mutilation and forced early marriage – customs that ultimately negate gender equality. In order to address the said dilemmas in Africa, several policies have been passed to end gender-based discrimination. However, in delving deep into this issue, one must take into account the reality that such practices will not end in a heartbeat. These types of customs that have been practiced by Africans for so long cannot be legislated away within a month or two. Completely eradicating the aforementioned practices require a lot of ingredients such as patience, commitment, active participation, and political will. Moreover, there should be a dialogue between traditional leaders, African human rights organizations, and the entire African community as a whole.
When it comes to discussing African human rights, culture must be always taken into account. This is because culture is the foundation of the development of an entire nation. In order for a country’s culture to survive, it must be encapsulated in everything, especially in human rights. It is for this reason why cultural and civic policies should be merged so that the right methods can be utilized by traditional leaders in keeping their cultural heritage intact without harming any African’s human rights. In this regard, there is no need for an intensified degree of tribalism in Africa because it is very much capable of adopting a more humane and safe way of practicing traditions without the need for torture-based procedures.
“The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the United Nations’ treaty on women’s rights. Adopted by the General Assembly in 1979, it was the first international treaty to address the fundamental rights of women in politics, health-care, education, economics, employment, law, property and marriage and family relations filling a major gap in international human rights law.” (Purvis, 2012). Under CEDAW’s Article 1, it has been defined what extensive discrimination against women truly is in order to fully establish the importance of women’s human rights and general freedom. In addition to this, under article 7, it has been written that women should also be given the legal rights to hold public office and to vote whenever they wish. Under article 9, it states that women are given equal rights as African men for the purpose of providing them opportunities to establish an independent sense of identity as stakeholders in the African community.
Non-discrimination is something which ought to be basic among human rights in various countries. This is why CEDAW highlights the need for the absence of discrimination not only in the social and political environment but even in the private sphere or the household so as to fill in the gaps in African human rights. Under CEDAW, people are obligated to alter their sexist behaviours that often lead to the degradation of women. With the ongoing fight of African human rights organizations and women’s rights activists, many African women would finally be able to enjoy their human rights as people of Africa to the greatest extent.
Gawanas, B. (2014). The African Union: Concepts and implementation
mechanisms relating to human rights.
Purvis, C. (2012). 15: The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Women. Retrieved December 8, 2014, from http://thinkafricapress.com/international-law-africa/cedaw