women's empowerment in comorosWomen’s issues in Comoros are closely associated with tradition, customs and religion. Challenges for gender equality include women being under-represented at the political level, a need for women in leadership, violence against women and women’s healthcare. By focusing on women’s empowerment in Comoros, these challenges could be properly addressed.

Women in Comoros, as well as Nigeria, Swaziland, the Republic of the Congo and Benin still have less than 8 percent female representation in their legislatures.

U.N. Women Working Towards Women’s Empowerment in Comoros

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women) works towards building capacities for women to participate in leadership. This transformative leadership training allows women to engage from a perspective of basic human rights and understand broader governance issues and democracy in general.

In Comoros, U.N Women has peacebuilding projects underway in partnership with the U.N. country team. Its contribution is to build the skills of women to understand the issues of gender relations in peace and in peacebuilding. It also strives to help women understand conflicts and how conflicts occur in order to help women build allies within the traditional leadership.

Addressing Domestic Violence and Women’s Healthcare

Violence against women, including domestic violence, is widespread in many places of Comoros. The physical, sexual and psychological violence against women threaten women’s empowerment in Comoros.

There has, however, been an advancement in women’s empowerment in Comoros through the improvement of healthcare services and decreasing maternal mortality.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) programs are key to the improvement of healthcare services. These programs provide emergency obstetric care and family planning, aim to maintain the low prevalence of HIV/AIDS and manage sexually transmitted infections. They also increase the availability and use of timely and reliable demographic data and integrate population variables into gender policies and development programs.

Reproductive health is a priority in the national health strategy of Comoros. According to U.N. Women, maternal mortality rates fell from 381 to 170 deaths per 100,000 live births between 2007 and 2012. Programs have extended services to women during pregnancy, delivery and after birth.

Comoros pledges to strengthens its multi-sectoral strategy on HIV, enhance women’s access to microcredit, and continue to implement actions to bring more women into key decision-making posts across national institutions.

With efforts to provide women with more opportunities to succeed, women’s empowerment in Comoros will effectively address the challenges women face in society.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr