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Burkina Faso still has a long way to go on gender equality

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Burkina Faso ratified all regional and international conventions on gender equality, adopted a national gender policy in 2009, established a dedicated ministry for the promotion of women and gender issues (now Ministry of Women, National Solidarity and Family) and developed a large number of action plans and gender programmes. However, discriminatory social norms and informal laws challenge the implementation and efficiency of policies and programmes promoting gender equality across the country. Gender inequalities therefore persist and national averages often mask strong regional disparities. Urban settings are generally more favourable to women’s empowerment compared to rural areas. While good progress has been made in ensuring equal access to education and free access to health services for pregnant women, women and girls are still largely discriminated against when it comes to social, economic and political opportunities. Nearly half of all women are married before the age of 18 and almost half of the Burkinabe population thinks that this is acceptable. When it comes to unpaid care work, 90% of people see it as a women’s responsibility and 70% do not think that this work should be shared. Burkinabe women also remain largely underrrepresented in the political sphere with less than 10% representation in the national assembly, far below the global average of 23.3%.

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