Chad: What about equality between women and men?

Chad is a nation in conflict and struggling with poverty and low level of education, in these conditions gender inequality thrives. The rate of education is comparatively low and pales to other developed countries and even some other African nations.

In Chad, women make up about half of the labour force, while men make up approximately three-quarters and things worsened during the pandemic: Covid-19 drove several of the industries dominated by women to close down. It also put additional strain on women’s domestic and caregiving responsibilities, lowering their economic output. Closing gender disparities has become an even greater issue given the degree of pre-pandemic gender inequality and things haven’t improved in 2022.

Chad faces enormous development obstacles, ranging from low economic output to long-running wars. Gender inequality is a particularly serious issue that stifles both growth and social fairness. Furthermore, the country’s huge economic and social disparities between men and women have been exacerbated as a result of the epidemic. Chad was already lagging behind its counterparts in gender equality prior to the epidemic, ranking 147 out of 153 nations in the worldwide gender gap index. Women make up almost half of Chad’s working population, however, they are largely engaged in the informal sector, are less productive, and earn less than males, contributing to considerably low productivity in most industries. As a result, gender equality is one of the essential issues that must be addressed in order for Chad’s economy to thrive.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a basic and pervasive issue in Chadian communities, and it worsens during times of crisis which is always right around the corner in the country. The Demographic and Health Survey with Multiple Indicators in Chad (DHS-MICS) statistics from 2014-2015 reveal that in Chad, 23% of girls marry before the age of 15 and 66% before the age of 18; and 38% of 15 to 49-year-olds had suffered from female genital mutilation. Furthermore, one in every three women reports being a victim of physical abuse, and 12% of women experience sexual assault each year. In 2022, these figures haven’t looked like getting better as the country still struggles from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Photo: UN

According to Martine Dangar, General Director of the Ministry of Women and Childhood Protection, sustainable development cannot be achieved until gender imbalances are eliminated and gender equality is promoted. She claims that gender-based violence issues are at the centre of the government’s worries, as expressed in the five-year National Gender Policy Plan 2019-2023, which aims to “promote equality between men and women in order to achieve sustainable development.”

Between January and October of 2020, 1,948 GBV events were recorded and documented in three departments of the Lac province, one in Moyen-Chari, one in Logone Oriental, and one in Mandoul, where data collection methods are in place. Despite health restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, field actors increased their efforts in promoting awareness for girls, women, boys, and men. Through various programs, 604 individuals were taught gender-based violence concepts, basic psychological assistance, case management, and other techniques, including community activists, community volunteers, local and administrative authorities, teens, and women (SASA, Girl Shine, EMAP).

When it comes to education levels, girls are disproportionately affected. While the enrollment rate for girls in primary school appears to be acceptable (80.4% according to the Ministry of National Education and Civic Promotion’s 2019-2020 School Statistical Yearbook), as girls progress through the school curriculum, and depending on the province, the rate becomes increasingly low. 

Photo: The Borgen Project

Nationally, middle school (1st to 4th levels) and general secondary school (5th – Upper 6th levels) demonstrate an even more concerning scenario for girls. The completion percentage for girls in middle school is 13.3% compared to 28.2% for boys, with considerable inequalities at the provincial level. Girls’ completion rates in ten provinces are less than 5%. The completion rate at the general secondary level is 10.3%, and the parity index (0.4) suggests poor female attendance. 

According to the Ministry of National Education and Civic Promotion’s (MENPC) 2019-2020 School Statistical Yearbook, numerous Sahel Belt regions have the lowest rates of female education in Chad. Borkou (18.8%), Ennedi Ouest (24.6%), Ennedi Est (46.6%), Bahr-El-Ghazal (30.2%), Hadjer-Lamis (32.7%), Batha (34%), and Wadi-Fira (34%) are among them (40%).

The provinces of N’Djamena (131.6%), Logone Occidental (126.1%), Mandoul (118.4%), Mayo-Kebbi Ouest (114.7%), Moyen-Chari (112.2%), Logone Oriental (104.8%), Tandjilé (99.1%), and Tibesti have the highest enrolment rates for girls (75.8%). According to the School Statistical Yearbook, a rate greater than 100% indicates that, in principle, the system has the ability to accept all six-year-old pupils in the primary 1st level under present conditions.

According to the 2019-2020 Statistical Yearbook, only 37 of 100 females enrolled in elementary school will complete the cycle. The primary school completion percentage for girls ranges between 8% and 24% in 15 provinces, which is a very concerning scenario. Only the provinces of the metropolis of N’Djamena (92.1%), Mayo-Kebbi Ouest (77.3%), and Logone Occidental (51.3%) stand out.

According to a review of gross enrollment rates for females, seven of the 11 provinces with emergency circumstances are below the national average of 80.4% for girls. In all provinces in emergency conditions except Logone Occidental, females’ primary school completion rates are lower than the national average (44.24% for girls and boys combined). These numbers are especially concerning because they are less than 20% in the provinces of Kanem (12.3%), Lac (17.7%), Salamat (14.6%), and Wadi-Fira (19%).

Overall, the level of gender equality across Chad is still low. There are, however, still active actions by stakeholders like the UN, the Government and some other groups/foundations who are committed to bringing gender equality to the region. Their task is well cut out for them.

About the author

Olivier Noudjalbaye Dedingar

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