Women in Mali 

Mali has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world. Of the 18 million people living in this West African country, about 9 million of them are women. Despite this, the country was ranked 184th out of 189 countries on the 2019 UNDP Human Development Index. Respect for human rights is weak, especially for women and young people, subject to structural inequalities and sociocultural customs that affect their health and severely limit their education, participation in governance, and social and economic independence. The maternal mortality rate is nearly 10 percent and food insecurity particularly affects women and children. Agriculture accounts for the livelihood of most people (mainly women), both in the formal and informal sectors, in the northern and central regions, but unclear land rights have contributed to conflicts between herders and farmers, particularly in the central regions. 

According to the Gender Inequality Index in 2020, Mali is ranked 184th in the world. Gender-based violence and female genital mutilation remain widespread across the country and women do not often have access to justice due to social pressures and ignorance of their rights.  

Mali’s development is further hindered by the ongoing severe political, social and security crises. On one hand, the Malian political scene has been tumultuous and unstable since 2012 with two military coups since August 2020, most recently in May 2021. Since then, Mali has been ruled by the transition government of Colonel Assimi Goïta. On the other hand, stability is threatened by internal armed conflicts with regular attacks on civilians, resulting in severe humanitarian consequences both within Mali and in the wider region (displacement, food insecurity). Increasingly, the conflict concerns control of illegal trade in narcotics, weapons as well as people. As of 30 September, there have been over 400,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country (UNHCR, 2021). The conflict, further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, reinforces women and girls' existing vulnerabilities, and threatens access to basic social and health services.  

UN Women in Mali  

Together with UN Country Team, UN -Women supports the Government, civil society, and local communities for a Mali where women, men and youth fully exercise their rights and effectively play their roles for a peaceful, economically inclusive, and reconciled country where men and institutions are respectful and accountable for the human rights of women and support gender equality.   

UN Women Mali works on norms, policies, and standards, capacity-building is provided for stakeholders, including the UN, the government, and civil society; on Governance, emphasizing on political institutions and processes, as well as gender planning and budgeting; on Economic Empowerment, with special emphasis on entrepreneurship and climate-smart agriculture; on Violence Against Women, with a priority on the prevention and the timely provision of effective essential services; and finally on Women, Peace & Security, helping to materialize government’s commitments on UNSC/R1325 through a new National Action Plan and the group “the friends of UNSC/R1325”.  

UN Women Mali’s country program is being financed by the following partners:  

• The governments of Denmark and Sweden, which are contributing to the financing of the country program activities, including providing institutional assistance.  

• The governments of Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland, and the PBF, MPTF, UNDP, UNESCO, KOICA, the Climate Fund, WPHF and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, which are financing specific programs.  

• The European Union, through the implementation of the Spotlight Initiative.  

• Private companies, such as the SAER SA Group and Orange.