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News release

Emaswati demand more action to advance rights and opportunities for women, Afrobarometer survey shows

31 Oct 2023 Eswatini
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News release
Key findings
  • Three-quarters (75%) of Emaswati “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with the idea that men should be given priority over women in hiring when jobs are scarce, while only 21% endorse this form of gender discrimination (Figure 1). o Support for gender equality in hiring is weaker among men (69%) than women (81%). o Only 61% of respondents with no formal schooling think women and men should have the same chance of getting a job, compared to 75%-77% of their more educated counterparts.
  • More than eight in 10 Emaswati (84%) say that women should have equal rights to land ownership and inheritance (Figure 2). More women (87%) than men (81%) support equal land rights.
  • Almost nine in 10 citizens (86%) say that women should have the same chance as men to be elected to political office (Figure 3). o More women (89%) than men (83%) favour gender equality in political participation. o Younger citizens are less likely to support this position (84% of those aged 18-35, compared to 90% of those over age 55).
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents say it is “somewhat likely” or “very likely” that a woman and her family will gain standing in the community if she runs for elected office (Figure 4). o But almost half also say that a woman standing for election is likely to be criticised, called names, or harassed by others in the community (45%) and to face problems with her family (45%).
  • An overwhelming majority (80%) of Swati citizens say the government should be doing more to promote gender equality in the country, including 51% who want to see “much more” government action on this issue (Figure 5).
  • About four in 10 men (42%) and women (41%) cite gender-based violence as the most important women’s-rights issue for their government and society to address, followed by low representation of women in influential positions in government (25% vs. 19%), unequal rights of property ownership and inheritance (12% vs. 17%), and unequal opportunities or pay in the workplace (14% vs. 14%) (Figure 6).

Emaswati say the government should do more to promote equal rights and opportunities for women, a new Afrobarometer survey indicates.

While large majorities express support for gender equality in hiring, land ownership, and political leadership, almost half also consider it likely that a woman will suffer criticism, harassment, or family problems if she runs for elective office.

Overall, Emaswati rank gender-based violence and women’s under-representation in positions of power as the most important women’s-rights issues that their government and society must address.