One of the world’s most comprehensive and progressive women’s human rights instruments, the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) was adopted by Heads of State and Government in Maputo, Mozambique, 19 years ago today - on 11 July 2003.
Two of Make Every Woman Count's Research Fellow's reflect on this milestone:
1. Leysley, based in Kenya.
The Maputo Protocol advocates for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and guarantees equal opportunity and access to education and training. Given that girls comprise a larger segment of children who do not get a chance of attending school, free primary, subsidized secondary as well as tertiary learning, the convention has enabled me and other millions of girls learn and be empowered. As a young empowered woman, I have faith in the power of education and to this end, I aim at taking on bigger leadership roles especially those aimed at making education more accessible to girls in the years to come.
Additionally, Make Every Woman Count has given me the privilege of contributing my skills in campaigning against some of the challenges girls face in my community and beyond. By creating informative materials such as infographics as well as managing the organization's social media platforms and website, I have had a great opportunity of accessing a wider audience. This has helped me bring to attention challenges girls go through such as female genital mutilation, lack of sanitary towels and an inclusive education - all of which are catered for under the Maputo Protocol.
2. Naomi, based in Nigeria.
19 years ago, the African Union adopted the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa popularly known as the Maputo Protocol to protect and promote the rights of women and girls across the continent. The Maputo Protocol would become the first legal framework that explicitly confronted the discrimination, abuse and marginalization of women while advocating the protection of their human rights.
In the 19 years since its adoption, 43 of the 55 member states have ratified its adoption. The Protocol has served as a North Star and birthed more gender-sensitive legal instruments and policies on the national level. The Maputo Protocol has served as a key facilitator of SDG 5; End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
Notwithstanding, we are still far from our goal of having all member states of the African Union on board with the Protocol and removing reservations to the Protocol among countries who have ratified it already. There is work to be done but we are farther from where we began 19 years ago and women’s rights have slowly become a feature in decision-making spaces rather than afterthought.
To learn more about the Maputo Protocol and its impact over the last 19 years, check out the Solidarity for African Women's Rights Coalition, of which Make Every Woman Count is a proud member.