Published on Nasikiliza

Empowering Angolan women: Advancing gender equality through civil society engagement

This page in:
© Stephan Gladieu / World Bank © Stephan Gladieu / World Bank

We hosted a virtual capacity-building workshop in December 2022 that brought together members of civil society and non-government organizations, private sector representatives, and legal practitioners in Angola. The workshop featured thought-provoking presentations and discussions on topics related to women’s economic empowerment, labor force participation, and protection from violence at home and at work.

The objectives were to discuss the theme of gender equality, identify the gaps that persist, and build participants’ capacity to better understand the challenges women face in the country. The workshop also aimed to provide participants a platform to share best practices for promoting equal rights for women and advocating for better policies aimed at increasing women’s economic opportunities in the country.

Our team produces the annual Women, Business, and the Law Report which analyzes laws and regulations in 190 economies and how they impact women’s working lives across eight areas: mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pension. The data provide objective and measurable benchmarks for assessing global progress towards gender equality, while highlighting country and regional-level areas for improvement. According to the report, to date only 14 economies around the world have achieved gender equality under the law.

During the workshop, we presented the main results of the report with a particular emphasis on Angola’s performance (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Angola's 2023 scores across the different indicators of the Women, Business, and the Law Index 

Beans grown in the Cuanza Norte Province. Photo: Izabela Leao/The World Bank
Source: Women, Business, and the Law database. Note: The data are current as of October 1, 2022, as published in the 2023 edition of the Women, Business, and the Law report, published on March 2, 2023.

Angola performs relatively well in the Women, Business, and the Law 2023 index, with a score of 79.4 out of 100.  This score is higher than the regional average observed in Sub-Saharan Africa (72.6) and the global average of 77.1. Angola obtains the highest score of 100 in areas that measure women’s freedom of movement, laws that affect women’s decision to work, marriage and divorce, women’s ability to start and run a business, and property and inheritance rights. However, when it comes to laws affecting women’s earnings, their ability to work after having children, and their pension benefits after retirement, Angola could consider reforming its laws to improve legal equality for women.

The findings of the report were well received by participants. As Eva Rosa Santos (Liderança Feminina Angola) remarked, the issue of gender equality “is not just in Angola, it is all over the world.  If we consider the fact that we still have about 130 years to go before we achieve gender equality, it means that we have a lot of work that we need to do, and this work must involve the entire society.“

Upale Lamber, of World Vision International, added that the data and findings presented during the event “can be useful in formulating or improving gender services and public policies. It can be considered as a source of inspiration or model for both researchers and those working on promoting gender and equity.”

Participants highlighted the importance of such workshops to consolidate existing knowledge and prompt new ideas that add to work already being done on the ground. They also stressed the importance of understanding how Angola performs in the regional context, particularly in comparison with other Portuguese-speaking economies in the region. They agreed that opportunities to engage with different local actors strengthens the initiative for gender equality in the country. 

During the workshop, participants also shared reflections on the opportunities for improvement in Angola. For example, greater emphasis is needed on combating domestic and sexual violence, raising awareness and empowering civil society, and the need to create a plan to implement the laws so that they have the desired effects. Participants mentioned financial limitations, lack of information, and lack of visibility on gender issues as obstacles they face to advance dialogue and work in Angola on gender equality.

Civil society and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and legal practitioners play key roles in embedding data and evidence in their grassroots work to influence changes in attitudes and create effective policies for women’s economic empowerment. According to Ms. Cecília Kitombe (ADRA Angola), local organizations can serve as a bridge to follow up on the report findings and recommendations presented at the workshop to further develop studies in other areas such as women in politics and care.

With the Women, Business, and the Law team, we look forward to continuing our engagement with local stakeholders in Angola and other economies in Sub-Saharan Africa to advance gender equality and ensure equal opportunities for all.

Visit the Women, Business, and the Law website to access country and region-specific data, to understand the importance of gender equality for economic development, and to read our recently published case study series on successful reforms for gender equality in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Women, Business, and the Law team is grateful to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for its generous support for a series of civil society and private sector engagement workshops across Sub-Saharan Africa. 


Natália Mazoni Silva Martins

Private Sector Specialist; Women, Business and the Law

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000