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Key findings
  • Educational achievement is close to gender-equal in Seychelles, with slightly more post-secondary schooling among women than men (41% vs. 37%).
  • Men and women are about equally likely to own key assets such as a bank account or a mobile phone, but fewer women own computers (43% vs. 50%) and motor vehicles (14% vs. 19%).
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to say they make decisions themselves about how household money is spent (64% vs. 52%).
  • Strong majorities say women should have the same rights as men to get paying jobs (78%) and to own and inherit land (90%). o About eight in 10 citizens say that in Seychelles today, women and men in fact enjoy equal rights when it comes to jobs (79%) and land ownership (83%).
  • Almost unanimously (93%), Seychellois say women should have the same chance as men of being elected to public office. o While close to seven in 10 (69%) citizens think a woman will probably gain standing in the community if she runs for office, one-third (31%) think it is likely she will be criticised or harassed, and 19% say she will probably face problems with her family.
  • More than three-fourths (77%) of citizens say the government is performing “fairly well” or “very well” in promoting equal rights and opportunities for women.
  • More than half (56%) say the government should do more to advance gender equality.

In Seychelles, the principles of gender equality are grounded in the Constitution and the National Gender Policy of 2016 (Southern African Development Community, 2022). Seychelles’ society is generally considered to be matrifocal, with women wielding significant influence at home and in the public sphere (Choppy, 2020). According to the 2022 general census, more than half of Seychellois households are headed by women (Seychelles News Agency, 2022). 

While Seychelles has attained 40% representation for women at the management level in the private sector, women hold only 23% of elected positions in the National Assembly, with eight women among the 35 members elected in the 2020 elections (IPU Parline, 2023; World Bank, 2022). The gender wage gap is 19%, and men are more likely than women to secure higher paying jobs (International Labour Organization, 2018).  

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. 

In Seychelles, survey data show no disadvantage for women when it comes to educational attainment or financial autonomy. Most Seychellois express support for women’s rights to equality in hiring, land ownership, and political leadership, though a sizeable minority consider it likely that women might suffer criticism or harassment if they run for public office. Most citizens approve of the government’s performance in promoting equal rights and opportunities for women, although many say greater efforts are needed. 

Anne Okello

Anne is the assistant project manager for East Africa