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Key findings
  • Educational achievement is gender-equal in Angola, according to survey results.
  • Women are less likely than men to have a bank account (47% vs. 55%), a radio (47% vs. 58%), a motor vehicle (16% vs. 31%), and a computer (15% vs. 21%) but match men in participation in household financial decisions.
  • A majority of citizens say women should have the same rights as men to get paying jobs (58%) and to own and inherit land (76%).
  • More than six in 10 citizens say women in fact enjoy equal opportunities in hiring (61%) and land ownership (68%).
  • Seven in 10 Angolans (70%) say women should have the same chance as men of being elected to public office.
  • But while 62% of citizens think a woman will gain standing in the community if she runs for office, 51% also consider it likely that she will be criticised or harassed by others in the community.

Like many other African countries, Angola has ratified major international instruments on women’s rights and gender equality and is committed to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls (OHCHR, 2019).

Guided by its 2013 national gender equality policy, Angola has made significant gains in the representation of women in positions of political leadership (OHCHR, 2019). Almost four out of 10 seats in the National Assembly (38.1%) are held by women (Parlamento, 2023), and nine of the 23 ministries in President João Lourenço’s administration are led by women.

However, the World Economic Forum’s (2022) Global Gender Gap Index ranks Angola 125th out of 146 countries in gender parity, reflecting the many remaining challenges on the path to equal rights for women. Among them is gender-based violence: One in four Angolan women reported in 2018 that they had suffered physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a current or former romantic partner during the previous year (UN Women, 2023). Sexual harassment is a leading barrier to women’s effective participation in the labour market, according to a UN Women adviser (Africa News, 2021). Almost one-third (30.3%) of women aged 20-24 years were married or in union before their 18th birthdays (UN Women, 2023).

This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 (2021/2023) questionnaire to explore Africans’ experiences and perceptions of gender equality in control over assets, hiring, land ownership, and political leadership. (For findings on gender-based violence, see Kitombe & Pacatolo, 2023.)

In Angola, women match men in educational attainment and participation in household financial decision making, though they trail men in ownership of key household assets. Majorities express support for women’s right to equality in hiring, land ownership, and political leadership, but most also consider it likely that a woman will suffer criticism or harassment if she runs for elective office.

Overall, fewer than half of Angolans approve of the government’s performance in promoting equal rights and opportunities for women.

Carlos Pacatolo

Carlos Pacatolo is the national investigator for Angola.

David Boio

David Boio is the co-national investigator for Angola.

Cecília Kitombe

Cecília Kitombe is director of communication and social advocacy for ADRA – Acção para o Desenvolvimento Rural e Ambiente