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AFRICAN YOUTH & GENDER

Are you a Man or a Woman? What does being male or female mean for you where you are right now? 

For 2016, the African Union (AU) has embraced the theme of Human Rights with special focus on "Women's Rights". That special attention alone is an adequate reflection of how dominant the agenda of Women in Africa has become. In the current pro-Feminist era, gender imbalance and disparity has been fought on many fronts. For a campaign that has radically doubled momentum in the past 2 decades leading up to 2016, the status of women has been confronted as far as their "Rights", "Sexuality" and their access to socially or economically valued opportunities. 

As African communities proceed to address gender issues, there are two aspects in which the subject is perceived: "fairness" and "balance". While both concepts seem very alike, they are far from it and often become a point of controversy. An underlying perception is that women are the weaker, oppressed gender and as a result Society must be reconfigured in favour of their needs. Calling for Gender Balance has come to mean having men and women equally represented in the classroom, the working environment and socio-political sphere. Referring to fairness in this context requires one to recognise that men and women have different needs and thus creating circumstances that are receptive to this reality is of maximum import! 

But when it comes to Africa, what can be said of the gender-specific roles culture and tradition have imposed on families and communities for centuries? How do young men and women in Africa perceive gender issues at present? How have the rights of women progressed and are they respected or protected throughout the continent? And above all, why do elements of resistance, to the advancement of Women's Rights and their status in society, continue to exist?

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