#InternationalWomen'sDay: 5 African women you should celebrate on this women's day

9 African countries where it is a pain to be a woman

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It’s a man’s world

More than five decades since James Brown released the classic hit ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” little has changed.

Gender-based violence against women is still the norm and affects somewhere between 35 and 70% of women globally, according to UN Women. In the same breath, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner globally. What a wicked way to experience one’s love.

Gender-based violence takes many forms but sexual assault remains the most prevalent. In the Middle East and North Africa, 40–60% of women have experienced street-based sexual harassment. 

Under the 2020 theme  “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” 16 days of activism hope to raise awareness on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Here are a few countries in Africa where women and children continue to face extremely high cases of violence. Being born in these countries can be a pain in the ass.

South Africa

A total of 2,695 women were murdered in South Africa in 2019/20 alone, according to Africa fact check. This means a woman is murdered every three hours in Africa’s most industrialized nation.

In 2019/20, reported sexual offences cases also increased to 53,293 from 52,420 in 2018/19 in South Africa

“As we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, our country is also faced with the second pandemic of gender-based violence and femicide,” Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said during the launch of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women, Anadolu News Agency reported.


Despite the fact that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been outlawed in Kenya since 2011, Some communities in Kenya still practice the vice to date. One such community is Pokot where girls as young as 11 are expected to face the knife stark naked and with courage.

“If a girl screams or shows even the slightest resistance, the father is allowed to throw the spear at her for bringing shame to the family. The men can also throw the spear at me if I do not circumcise fast enough,” Chepocheu Lotiamak, a circumciser, told Inter Press Service (IPS).

Lotiamak divulgde that when it comes to payment of a bride price, a Pokot girl who has undergone FGM receives 60 – 100 cows, or on the lower side, 25 – 40 cows while those not ‘cut’, even if university graduates, receive four to eight cows.

UN notes that at least 200 million women and girls, aged 15–49 years, have undergone female genital mutilation in 31 countries across the globe where the practice is concentrated. Half of these countries are in West Africa.


Under the stewardship of President John Magufuli, gains in human rights were clawed back. Women especially become vulnerable with the President going as far as proposing banning pregnant school girls from school.

In 2017, while speaking at a public rally in Chalinze town, about 100km west of the main city Dar es Salaam, Mr. Magufuli said schoolgirls who got pregnant will not be allowed back to school.

“Ukishapata mimba ni Kwaheri Translated: (After getting pregnant, you are done.). he said

A year later, President Magufuli said curbing the birth rate was “for those too lazy to take care of their children”. Soon thereafter a family planning ad by a US-funded project was barred from broadcasting by the health ministry.

In 2019 the President urged Tanzania’s women to “set their ovaries free” and bear more children as a way to help boost the economy of the East African country.

According to UNICEF, Tanzania has the 11th highest absolute number of women married or in a union before the age of 18 in the world  and 31% of girls in Tanzania are married before their 18th birthday.


In the month of August, Human Rights activists across the world reacted in shock and anger after learning of yet another bloody rape case in Somalia.

Hamdi Mohamed Farah, a student, was raped by a group of men and pushed off a six-floor building in Mogadishu’s Wabari district. Just four months earlier two girls aged just three and four were abducted, raped and left for dead.


According to UNICEF, 17% of girls in Egypt are married before their 18th birthday and 2% are married before the age of 15.

Egyptian families also don’t have qualms marrying off their daughters early to legitimise a relationship and avoid the stigma of premarital sex and pregnancy.

South Sudan

More than 100 aid workers have so far been killed since conflict broke out in 2013 in South Sudan, data from the U.N shows. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) documented 224 cases of conflict-related sexual violence affecting 133 women, 66 girls, 19 men and 6 boys as of June 2020. Rape, sexual slavery and sexual torture continue to be used as tactics by government soldier and militia group in Africa’s youngest  nation. 

In 2016, South Sudan soldiers gained forceful entry of Terrain Hotels in the capital city of Juba and gang-raped humanitarian workers, including an American, an Italian and a Dutch national.

Before they left they executed local journalist John Gatluak Nhial near a stand of trees.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

This rich county is notorious for the use of rape as a weapon of war. In the eastern provinces of Kivu, rape is especially prevalent and used as a weapon of war by all parties involved in the long-standing conflict.

According to data collected from local health centres in Kivu,and verified by respected observers, such as the Human Rights Watch, about 40 women are raped every day. 


Africa’s most populous country is no place to be a woman. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18, according to UNICEF.

During the curfews Nigerian women came under attack and experience an increase of sexual violence.

The country recorded 717 rape cases between January and May alone according to Nigerian police. In June Uwavera Omozuwa, known as Uwa, a 22-year-old university student was brutally raped and bludgeoned to death. Her death led to street protests, an online petition and a Twitter hashtag #WeAreTired.


Founded as home of freed slaves, Liberia is today a destitute place where women are punching bags and prisoners of GBV in their own motherland.

Between January and June, Liberia recorded a 50% increase in gender-based violence.  More than 600 reported rape cases were registered and activists fear that is just but a drop in the ocean and that many cases went unreported.


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