By AGUEH Dossi Sekonnou Gloria, CHAIRPERSON of Réseau des Femmes Leaders pour le Développement (RFLD)
The Republic of Benin has put in place a very extensive legal arsenal, as well as regulatory measures to promote gender at all levels of life. It ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on March 12, 1992 and other regional texts such as the MAPUTO Protocol, September 30, 2005.
Implementation remains the main challenge. Expertise in Theory but Absence of Practice…
Despite these measures, women’s rights continue to be violated. It is therefore necessary to review the effectiveness and operationalization of these measures to make women truly enjoy their rights.
In the National Assembly of Benin, there are 5 women out of 83 Members of Parliaments. We also note the drop in the propensity of women in the appointment of local authorities from the country’s 12 regions. The representation of women in public and political life, as well as in positions of responsibility, including at the international level, is very low. The constitution of November 7, 2019 provides that the state ensures the equality of all before the law without distinction of age, sex, religion, race, political opinion or social position. Women and men are equal before the law. However, the law may lay down special provisions to improve the representation of women (article 26 of the constitution). The law which established the specific conditions relating to the representation of the people is the Electoral Code.
Unfortunately, out of 109 seats of the New Electoral Code in the National Assembly, the law did not even allocate 30% to women.
Despite the promotion efforts undertaken by Civil Society, the non-respect of women’s rights remains a reality. This often results in:
- difficulty women have in accessing justice in the event of violence (unrecognized, lengthy, costly and complex legal procedures, female illiteracy)
- very weak application of the laws adopted in favor of women and the promotion of gender (the application of legal instruments is sometimes problematic from the point of view of procedure. Judges and Judicial Police Officers often experience difficulties in initiating proceedings against perpetrators of violations of the rights of women and girls).
Today, women and young people are becoming more aware of their rights and willing to be driven force of change and impact to make positive contribution on building strong communities.
FOUR KEYS FOR CHANGE
- Increase and strengthen young women and girls participation, commitment, leadership and partnerships
- improve understanding of the Maputo Protocol
- increase the contribution of media to DISSEMINATE messages and women’s best practices
- Increase Young women knowledge on effective public communication, debate skills, leadership, and increase capacity to use social media for influence and advocacy