Back in 1983, women made up only 5.7 percent of the Mauritian parliament. Now, however, the island nation famed as “the African success story” is now the leading country in Africa for women empowerment.
Per the world World Bank’s Women, Business and Law report for 2021, only 10 countries in the world have full equal rights for women. Only Belgium, France, Denmark, Latvia, Luxembourg, Sweden, Canada, Iceland, Portugal, and Ireland score 100 points each.
The research is global ranking which assesses the laws and reforms in 190 countries, considering the various efforts made to eliminate gender-based discrimination and support women in roughly the past year.
Though Mauritius appears a little later, the country’s 91.9 score makes it the highest-ranking African country on the index. The nation performs just as well as Kosovo, a republic in Southeastern Europe.
The report—which considers changes made to empower women in business and politics between September 2019 and October 2020—says Mauritius scores 100 in six of its indicators: assets, entrepreneurship, workplaces, pay, marriage, and mobility.
The second-best African country on the index is South Africa, with a score of 81.1. It’s an impressive performance, but the nation took quite the time before showing up on the ranking.
Obviously, it’s because it’s outscored by a good number of non-African countries. Besides, SA has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Mauritius, a woman was president from 2015 to 2018. Between 2010 and 2016, the country also had a female vice-president. As of then, that was an improvement given that women participation in business and governance remained below 15 percent from 1983 to 2014.
The Indian Ocean island’s gender parity levels have something to do with its population. Of the over 1.2 million people living in Mauritius, roughly more than half are women. Nonetheless, women from this country are more likely to be discriminated or harassed based on their gender.
“The remaining gaps to close are in the Parenthood and Pension indicators.
Under Parenthood, Mauritius is still lacking paid parental leave, and maternity leave benefits are not 100 percent administered by the government. Under Pension, Mauritius has not accounted for periods of absence due to childcare in pension benefits,” the report states.
Around the world, women have just three-fourths of the legal rights of men. There are hopes that the ramifications of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization would foster gender parity in Africa.