Human Rights in Africa with Special Focus on Gender Issues

Course Description: 

This course aims to provide students an overview of women's rights in Africa through the examination of the African Human Rights system, cultural relativism and conflicts with universal human rights principles; gender discriminatory customs and traditions which infringe on the enjoyment of women's rights and the lack of political will to fulfill commitments to gender equality. We cannot exhaust the breadth of positions and analysis of the issues relevant to understanding women’s rights in an African context within the remit of this course; therefore, my aim is to provide sufficient background to stimulate further enquiry, either within the present time frame of your sojourn here at the CEU or in the future. All the issues raised in this course are interrelated and often intersect in the quest for a better understanding of women’s rights in Africa and the demand for more practical measures for their enjoyment. Hence the selection and classification of readings across the topics for each class has been quite a challenge as many writers often touch on more than one of these issues. A holistic understanding of this inter-relatedness will emerge by the end of the class meetings.

Learning Outcomes: 

Understand the legal and normative framework for the promotion of women’s rights in Africa and the potentials/challenges thereof.

Understand thedifferent factors that impact on women’s role and status in African society and the role of different institutions in the promotion and protection of women’s rights.

Identify relationships and intersections between the causes of gender inequality in Africa and ways of addressing them.


The final grade is based on class-participation [10%], oral / written assignments [20 %] and a written final exam [70%]. Unsatisfactory oral and written assignments may result in additional written assignments.