The Nordic Africa Institute


Ensuring women's access to justice

Woman shuffling soil

Liberia, April 2012. Gbarnga Peace Hub, one of five facilities being built with help from the UN Peacebuilding Support Office to increase access access to justice in Liberia. Photo: Emmanuel Tobey, UN Photo.

Date • 22 Mar 2019

About half of the people of Sub-Saharan Africa live below the poverty line, and 80 per cent of them are women. Their access to justice is guaranteed by international and domestic laws. But these laws mean little or nothing without government support and adequate funding. A new policy note from the Nordic Africa Institute offers recommendations on how to secure access to justice.

Ensuring African Women’s Access to Justice : Engendering Rights for Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa​ – Policy Note No 2:2019 External link, opens in new window.

All development work, from water access to education, should be streamlined with a gender focus on access to justice. Questions aimed at revealing deificiencies in the access to justice should be included in demographic surveys in order to produce a more efficient basis for decision-making. Also, funding should be provided to develop smart phone apps that facilitate for women in rural areas to file complaints and get legal support. These are some of the recommendations in the new policy note.

The authors

David Lawson, Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute

Adam Dubin, Assistant Professor of Human Rights Law, Universidad Pontificia Comillas

Lea Mwambene, Associate Professor of Law at University of Western Cape

with Bisrat Woldemichael, intern at the Nordic Africa Institute