Gabon signed the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (The Maputo Protocol) on the 27th of January 2005 and ratified it on the 10th of January, 2011. Considered as the most prosperous and stable country in Africa, Gabon gained its independence in 1960 from France. Former Omar Bongo is considered as the longest serving president in the world. He dominated the country’s political scene for four decades until his death in June 2009. His son, Ali Bongo, won the 2009 elections. Polygamy remains a tradition that is still practiced in Gabon. In the past, a man could have up to 50 wives, but the current government has limited the number to four. Although some women hold high-ranking position in the army and the judiciary, women are still discriminated based on customary laws such as marriage, divorce and inheritance.
Reforms of the Civil Code included the removal of discriminatory provisions – notably widows losing their usufruct of the familial property and land if she remarries outside the family.
2015-2025 was decreed the Decade of Women by the President of the Republic in 2015 to analyse and solve Gabonese women’s problems. Since January 2019, the project has taken shape with the establishment of a ministerial department responsible for the Women’s Decade.
Gabon enacted legislation (Loi No. 042/2018) protecting women from sexual harassment in employment. It also enacted civil remedies for sexual harassment in employment.
Gabon appointed its first woman Prime Minister, Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda.
There is a proposed new bill on the eradication of violence against women, however it is yet to be formally adopted.
Information regarding the Civil Code reforms can be found via The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (2015), available at: https://www.refworld.org/publisher,IRBC,QUERYRESPONSE,GAB,577b6a094,0.html
The Government’s Women’s Decade ten year plan can be found here: https://gabon.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/Plan%20d%C3%A9cennal-%20version%20finale%202-%20EPMK%20%281%29.pdf
World Bank, ‘Reforms – Gabon’, available at: https://wbl.worldbank.org/en/reforms
Deutsche Welle (2020) ‘Gabon appoint Ossouka Raponda as its first woman prime minister’, available at: https://www.dw.com/en/gabon-ossouka-raponda/a-54206731
Africa News (2021) ‘Gabon Wants More Equality Between Men and Women’, available at: https://www.africanews.com/2021/03/28/gabon-wants-more-equality-between-men-and-women/