In International Development Research, Politics & Governance

Gender equality is one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The goal aims at ending all forms of discrimination, sexual violence and harmful practices against women and girls, as well as recognizing the value of unpaid care and ensuring women have equal leadership opportunities. March is Women’s Month, a time when women’s rights and gender equality are at the forefront of people’s minds. To assess how those in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana perceive women’s rights in their countries and actions that their leadership has taken to improve gender equality, GeoPoll ran a Rapid Survey in early March 2020 with 3,280 respondents via mobile application.

Results: Gender Equality in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana

92% of the respondents believe that both men and women should have equal rights, including the right to equal pay, equal opportunities to own property, vote and be represented in civil society. These results are consistent across Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana.

A large percentage (65%) said they either agree strongly or slightly agree that men and women currently have equal rights in their respective countries.

The goal of gender equality is that men and women have equal opportunities and rights in private and public spaces, without unfair advantage or disadvantages due to gender. We asked respondents if either men and women currently have an advantage due to their gender. Interestingly, on average the respondents were split between who between men (37%) and women (37%) generally have it easier, while 26% say there is no difference between the genders.

 

gender advantage in Kenya, Uganda and Ghana

There has been a sustained gender affirmative action across the African continent over the last couple of years, which is leading to more opportunities for girls and women. This was reflected in the survey as more respondents (77%) believe that girls now have more opportunities than their parents’ generation compared to boys (61%).

Improving women’s opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa

Improving access to education will serve a great purpose in efforts to empower women, and is one focus of international development groups, along with improvements to maternal health and other issues such as gender-based violence. We found that 32% of respondents singled out access to education as important, followed by a reduction of gender violence (22%) and access to jobs (18%).

What do you think is the most important aspect to improve to empower women in your country?

In recent years, the issue of gender inequality in the workplace has been addressed by various organizations and initiatives. A UN Women’s study shows that women earn 77 cents for every 1 dollar earned by men. We asked our respondents about the state of equal pay in their respective countries and found that a majority feel that payment is based on merit, with 35% who feel that men are generally paid more, and 15% who said women are paid better.

Several pillars represent the quest for gender equality, all aimed at minimizing the challenges that women face in different settings. When asked about the issues that women face in their respective countries, the top issues that they brought forward were sexual harassment/violence (67%), balancing work and family responsibilities (47%) and underrepresentation in leadership and political positions (40%).

Ever since Liberia’s Ellen Sirleaf Johnson became Africa’s first elected woman President in 2006 there have been three more women presidents in Africa, in Malawi, Mauritius, and Ethiopia. Over the years, the number of women in political and business leadership positions has grown, signaling changing traditions and more inclusivity. Whereas 44% said there is no likelihood of a woman winning a presidential election in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana in the next 20 years, 57% think there may be a woman president in their countries in the next two decades.

Despite almost 60% believing their country may have a woman president in the future, respondents did not think that discrimination overall would end in the next 20 years. We asked respondents to agree or disagree with the statement ‘Discrimination against women in {country} will end in the next 20 years’ and the responses were similar across Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana. Only 7% strongly thought that discrimination against women will end in the next two decades.

Sexual harassment and gender-based violence

The World Bank reports that 1 in 3 women face a form of gender-based violence in their lifetime. With sexual harassment and violence being such a marked challenge facing women, we sought to understand the prevalence among those in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana. Specifically, we asked the respondents if they knew anyone who has been sexually harassed or subjected to gender-based violence in the last year. We found that 67% affirmed that they know a woman who has been sexually harassed and 53% know a woman who has experienced GBV.

It is worth noting that these are not challenges facing only women, as 54% and 36% said they know men who have been subjected to sexual harassment and GBV in the last year.

Conduct Research on Women’s Rights in sub-Saharan Africa

The world is making good progress towards achieving gender equality. However, Africa lags behind in most gender parity goals and there hasn’t been much improvement in the last 4 years. This survey covered some of the challenges and perceptions of gender equality in three African nations. Ultimately, more data covering all populations is required to pinpoint where the real challenges lie and set about improving the situation. GeoPoll is experienced in conducting research with women in hard-to-reach areas around the globe. If you are looking to conduct research with a female audience in emerging markets, conflict zones, or hard-to-reach areas, please contact us today.

GeoPoll conducted this Rapid Survey through the mobile application mode. The survey targeted random male and female respondents of all ages in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana the week leading up to International Women’s Day. To learn more about the methodology we used in conducting this survey, and learn about our capabilities in different parts of the world, please contact GeoPoll here.

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