Cabo Verde is a small island state. It graduated from Least Developing Countries in 2008, as a result of progresses in human capital and revenue per capita, but maintains its structural vulnerability.
Overall poverty significantly reduced, but the gender gap increased: 33% of female-headed families are poor (21% of male-headed families), affecting in particular rural areas. Women’s unemployment rates are higher than men’s, and women experience vulnerability from informal, socially undervalued, low paid, and insecure work. Women are often the sole resource for family survival (48% of families are headed by women).
Women’s situation in entrepreneurship is incipient, linked to informal trade, with limited access to modern production technology and entrepreneurial competencies, as well as financial services. The normative and policy context for the promotion of the private sector does not address gender issues and institutional gender awareness and capacities are insufficient. For the 3rd consecutive time there is parity at the level of cabinet, but women’s representation in elected positions remains modest, revealing unequal gender power relations, as visible in the gender division of labor and stereotypic constructions of masculinity/femininity, resulting in under-representation of women in public life and senior levels of leadership, limiting their voice on key aspects of their life.
The Gender based Violence (GBV) Law, passed in 2011, provides many opportunities, but implies considerable investments to enhance the capacity of law enforcement officials to respond sensitively and promptly to GBV cases, set up recurrent data collection systems for monitoring GBV and carry out effective coordinated prevention strategies.
UN Women in Cabo Verde
Cabo Verde’s programme is aligned to the interim Gender Equality Action Plan (2011-2012), while both the Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan (PRSP III) and the new gender policy are designed and get under way. The programme niche is to empower women entrepreneurs, with a focus on rural women. The approach is increasing women’s participation in decision, across all interventions. Considering the GBV Law, interventions will also target key capacity building aspects for its swift implementation The program will focus on the following three results:
- Women’s increased leadership and participation in the decisions that affect their lives
- Increased economic empowerment of women, especially of those who are most excluded
- Prevent violence against women and girls and expand access to victim/survivor services, and South-south cooperation started in 2010-2011 will continue so that the office can be exposed to technical expertise from Spanish/Portuguese speaking countries.