African Women’s Movements and the African Union

  • Melinda AdamsEmail author
Living reference work entry


Since its establishment in 2001, the African Union has placed a higher priority on women’s rights than its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity. African women’s movements played a critical role in ensuring that this new institution focused on gender equity. Women’s organizations were active throughout the transition from the OAU to the AU, calling for gender-balanced leadership within AU institutions, advocating for gender equity policies, and lobbying for the adoption, ratification, and implementation of women’s rights legislation. While the AU has surpassed its predecessor in its rhetorical commitment to women’s rights and gender equity, there remains a gap between these commitments and changes in actions. African women’s movements continue to pressure national and regional actors to prioritize gender equity, advocating for the transformation of rhetorical commitments to changes in practice.


African Union Gender equity policies Women’s movements Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Professor of Political ScienceJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anene Ejikeme

There are no affiliations available

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