International Women’s Day: the insights of women’s situation and gender equality in Burkina Faso

Achille Sawadogo
4 min readMar 13, 2019

Today, March 8, 2019, Burkina Faso, like other nations of the world, magnifies women. What contribution does this make to the development of the family and our countries? Focus on their contributions?

In the past, women were culturally confined to unimportant work. They were solely responsible for housework and nothing else. They didn’t use to participate in decision-making because they were ‘less enlightened’ according to some men, social perceptions and views. Because of these prejudices, women in African societies have been for long undervalued and discriminated. They were credited with some less honourable qualifications such as weak and fragile, domestic, etc.

According to World Bank statistics, more than 52% of the Burkinabe population are women; more than 38% of these women are of childbearing age; Burkinabé women support 90% of domestic chores and devote ¾ of their time to agricultural work in rural areas, and in urban areas, many are involved in small business.

Yet, the role of women in Burkina Faso remained limited for long. The proportion of arable land allocated to them is barely 8–16% (World Bank, 1994). The income generated by small businesses that they run is insufficient to satisfy basic needs. The access to education and employment between men and women is still unequitable. Between 1994 and 2003: the literacy rate for men was around 30% and only 12% for women.

Paradoxically gender equality is promoted by numerous laws including: the constitution, the Code of persons and family, the labour Code, the Criminal Code on gender equality considering the same political, economic and social rights.

An overall conclusion we make is that discrimination and gender inequality in Burkina Faso has long been anchored in the habits of life and the texts have remained absent in their application. It’s also important to notice that women’s situation is largely produced by the inequalities that exist between men and women, and varies across cultures and can change over time. Gender inequality is a matter of human rights and must be considered regarding the right to fairness and social justice.

The International Women’s Day as a springboard to honor women and promote gender equality

The 162nd International Women’s Day in Burkina Faso was celebrated last Friday, 8th March 2019 on the theme “The contribution of women to building a Burkina Faso for security, peace and social cohesion”. This theme is an invite for women to play the role of intermediaries in conflict situations by facilitating communication and negotiations.

More clearly, it is a question of understanding the role of women in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in Burkina Faso, the contribution of women to safeguarding and promoting peace and social cohesion, and finally the role of women in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism

Nowadays, the negative perceptions toward women tend to disappear. The formerly marginalized Burkinabè woman is today more educated, more liberated and more emancipated. They are more opened to innovation and contribute positively to the development of their families and the country at large. Politically, economically and socially, women have their say. No need to name women who rise to the top of our states, our institutions. At the professional level nationally, there are currently women who embrace the same trades as men. Here are some examples of women who do the Burkinabè people proud being brilliant success in their businesses: the woman taxi driver called ‘Biba Taxi’, the woman salesperson of spare parts, the international female truck driver ‘Mama Africa’, etc. Why not give them the same chances as men?

I our opinion this day is chosen for the woman to find her place in our societies, to break the barriers that prevent her move forward in the same conditions as men. Beyond the festive character, this day must be a moment of reflection, of retreat for any woman. To demand any attention to her, the woman must question herself.

What is her contribution to the prosperity of the nation, of the society and of the families? Here’s an important question in the day to day fight for equitable chances between women and men. More specifically in Burkina Faso the current situation of insecurity should be considered.

Happy birthday to my moms, sisters, darling and all the women of humanity!!!

Female truck driver ‘Mama Africa’ from Burkina Faso
‘Mama Africa’ giving an interview with AFRICA LIVE TV
‘Biba taxi’ in her taxi, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Nikiema Wendlassida a courageous Burkinabe woman who picks up the sand 4 hours a day under the hot sun of Ouagadougou to feed her two children (earning 1.8 USD per day)



Achille Sawadogo

Mandela Washington Fellow, for Young African Leaders — Civic engagement — Development Cooperation, Economist, Project Management skills, Free learner