Located in West Africa, Guinea-Bissau, ...
a Portuguese-speaking country with a population of 1,597,000, became independent in 1974 with the liberation war. Historically, women have always played an important role in Guinea-Bissau, especially during the war of liberation with heroines such as Titina Syla who fought at the front under the same conditions as men.
Significant progress has been made from independence to the present day in terms of the role and place of women in Guinean society, but much remains to be done in terms of women’s potential. Despite the repeated state costs that have weakened democracy and slowed down women’s momentum, the approval of the national gender policy (2012-2015), the implementation of an action plan with awareness-raising on the role of women in politics, the strengthening of the women’s political platform for a full participation of women in politics, decision-making and peace-building.
On the economic front, there are many obstacles to the economic emancipation of women in Guinea-Bissau. The challenges are education and vocational training, access to available resources (access to credit, access to land ownership), and the heavy burden of household chores that stifle women’s potential for full and effective participation in the social and economic life of the country.
On the political level, even though women represent 50.4% of the population, they are attributed less than 30% of representation in parliament. Since 2014, recommendations for gender mainstreaming have been made in new policies, but their effectiveness remains derisory to this day.
On the legal front, despite the remarkable work of civil society, notably the Human Rights League, the Centre for Legal Information and Guidance and UN Women, women’s access to fair justice is still a problem. Many cases of abuse and violence are still noted, especially in rural areas where customary law takes precedence over civil law.
The fight for equity and equality between men and women remains a priority and requires more commitment on the part of women and civil society, but also and above all a real willingness on the part of the state authorities to draw up a clear agenda for the concrete integration of the gender dimension into policies. It is necessary to strengthen women’s capacities in green jobs with high added value in relation to the country’s economic potential and to lighten the workload of Guinean women, who devote 85% of their working time to housework, the search for and preparation of food, and to children.
Munira Jauad Ribeiro
Convenor of Commission on Financial/Economic Policies
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