Mozambique is in a period of great transformation. Rapid economic growth coexists with high inequalities, very low human development indicators and a tense political situation. While the economy has been growing at an average annual rate of 7% over the last decade, this growth is yet to translate into significant progress towards meeting the Millenium Development Goals and other agreed internationally agreed development goals. The country has one of the lowest human and social development indicators in the world, ranking at 185 out of 187 countries with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.327 in 2012.
The political and security situation in Mozambique has been deteriorating with an increase in violence between former civil war foes, Renamo and Frelimo (currently in office), which creates uncertainties and could threaten the flow of investments.
The political commitment of the Government of Mozambique on gender equality and the empowerment of women is strong, but progress in reducing the gender remains uneven.
A general election is scheduled for October 2014. While the representation of women in politics has been growing steadily in Mozambique, with 39.4% female representation in parliament, special efforts will be needed to reach the target of 50% male and 50% female participation in decision making in all areas and at all levels by 2015, as established under the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) gender protocol.
Economic empowerment remains a challenge for the women of Mozambique. For example, women account for 87.3% of the labour force in agriculture, but are only 25% of the land owners holding official user rights.
The high prevalence of HIV among women as well as the widespread acceptance of violence against women are also signs of deeply rooted gender inequalities. The prevalence of HIV among young women is three times higher than among young men, for instance. In 2004, the Ministry of Women and Social Action estimated that 54% of Mozambican women had experienced violence in their lifetime.
Women lead and participate in decision making at all levels
This programme aims to ensure that constitutions, legal frameworks and policies to advance women’s rights to participate in decision making at the national and local levels are reformed/adopted and implemented. In partnership with other UN agencies and with funding from the Government of Finland, UN Women Mozambique will build the capacity of parliamentarians on gender sensitive legislation, build the capacity of the Human Rights Commission to reach out to poor and vulnerable women, and support the participation of women in local governance.
Women, especially the poorest and most excluded, are economically empowered and benefit from development
In terms of economic empowerment, UN Women Mozambique aims to have national plans, legislations, policies, strategies, budgets and justice mechanisms adopted and implemented to strengthen women’s empowerment, and to increase gender responsive services, access to land and control over means of production and enhance women’s sustainable livelihoods. We will do this developing and testing replicable models to ensure effective economic empowerment through initiatives to create a sustainable income stream for rural women farmers and expand women’s role in agricultural production. UN Women Mozambique will link this work to broader macroeconomic and poverty reduction policy debates and planning through knowledge building, networking, dialogue and advocacy.
Women and girls live a life free from violence
This programme aims to ensure laws, polices and strategies are implemented and adopted in line with international standards to prevent violence against women and girls, and to increase usage of existing quality violence against women services that are survivor focused. UN Women Mozambique will consolidate a social mobilization model to end violence against women. We will use the media, particularly television, to expand the outreach nationwide within the broader context of the UNiTE campaign.
To increase women’s leadership in peace, security and humanitarian response
This programme aims to enhance the capacity of women and gender advocates to influence peace and security processes and also to have gender equality commitments adopted and implemented in humanitarian action. UN Women Mozambique will support the capacity of women in the security sector and police to influence security processes with a gender perspective. We will support the capacity of the National Institute of Disaster Management to deal with gender issues in humanitarian action and lead other stakeholders to do the same.
National planning and budgeting processes promote stronger institutional accountability to gender equality commitments
The focus of this programme will be on further strengthening and consolidating national partners’ capacities of key players namely parliament, civil society organizations and academia to hold the government accountable on the implementation of gender equality and women’s empowerment commitments.