Senegal

Using a ‘traffic light’ color scheme, learn about a country’s performance relative to the other focus countries for each individual SDG. Each square on an individual SDG line represents the performance of a country, with the selected country (i.e. Senegal) being the larger square. Hover over a country square on any SDG line to learn about the related indicators and their score!

Gender Equality Context in Senegal

Senegal is a relatively stable African democracy with high economic growth forecasts according to the World Bank, despite its high unemployment and fertility rates. However, it faces the challenges of having not only a vast youth population, but also high levels of poverty and low levels of social protection, all of which have implications for gender equality.

The country has made legal advances to ensure women’s equality, including the 2010 Parity Law that amends the Constitution to mandate parity between men and women in electoral lists for all elections. Its implementation during the 2012 legislative elections almost doubled the representation of women from 22% in 2007 to 42% in 2012.  Senegal has adopted the National Strategy for Equity and Gender Equality (2016 –2026) to ensure that women, girls, men and boys have the same opportunities to participate in and benefit equally from development. The strategy also mandates gender budgeting at national level.

Nevertheless, the OECD’s Social Institutions and Gender Index scores Senegal as only ‘medium’ (on a scale ranging from very low to very high) on its gender discrimination scale, given its discriminatory family laws regarding ownership of assets, inheritance and other legal rights.

While the 1972 Family Code grants men and women equal access to land, traditional custom prevents equality in practice, with women often unable to inherit land and husbands often opposing the acquisition of land by their wives. While child, early and forced marriages are prohibited under article 108 of the Family Code, they are still widespread.

Key findings

What does the SDG Gender Index tell us about the profile of gender equality for each country?

Areas of strong performance
  • SDG 5 on gender equality: Senegal has both strong points and weak points in SDG 5. Senegal is ahead of the focus countries with 42% of the seats in Parliament held by women in 2018.

  • SDG 6 on water and sanitation: While Senegal faces continued challenges in extending access to basic drinking water and sanitation services, the country has performed better than might be expected given its level of economic development. It is also the country with the highest score for the extent to which its WASH policies and plans include specific provisions to reach women.

  • SDG 10 on inequalities: Senegal has the highest Index score on SDG 10 among the focus countries.  It had fairly low levels of income inequality in 2012, as well as fairly high scores for expert perceptions in 2016 of how equally political power is shared between men and women and for the extent to which its Constitution guarantees gender equality. 

  • SDG 13 on climate:  Senegal has the highest Index score on the climate change goal.  This is driven by the fact that it had the lowest rate of people affected by disasters in recent years and because it has set relatively ambitious emissions targets when compared to its “fair share”.

Areas for improvement
  • SDG 1 on poverty: Senegal had the highest proportion of the population living below the national poverty line, at 47% in 2011 (latest available year). Of the six focus countries, Senegal also had the lowest percentage of the poorest people who are covered by social assistance – 5.1% in 2011 (compared with 81% in Colombia in 2014). 

  • SDG 3 on health: Senegal had a very weak performance on access to family planning, with just 47% of women having reported that their needs for family planning are met with modern methods in 2016, compared with at least 72% (but typically higher) in the other five countries.

  • SDG 4 on education: Just 6% of girls having completed upper secondary education in 2016, compared to around 40% in Indonesia and Kenya in 2014 and India in 2016. Literacy rates for women were also very low, suggesting that this problem has been around for some time: just 34% of women had basic literacy skills in 2013, compared with 79% in Kenya in 2014, and 94% in Indonesia in 2016.

  • SDG 5 on gender equality: Senegal has some major challenges to confront on this goal, in spite of the strong performance on women’s representation in national parliaments mentioned above. It had the highest rate of child, early and forced marriage (31% in 2015) and the highest percentage of women who reported thinking a man is justified in beating his wife in certain circumstances (49% of women in 2016).

Jonathan Torgovnik / Getty Images Reportage, Equal Measures 2030
Jonathan Torgovnik / Getty Images Reportage

EM2030 Partner in Senegal

FAWE Senegal

The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE)

FAWE Senegal aims to promote equity and gender equality in education, by encouraging the adoption of policies, practices and positive attitudes towards girls’ education, training and women’s empowerment. Supported by EM2030, FAWE’s project focuses on the regions of Ziguinchor and Sedhiou, where girls face particularly significant challenges to completing their education due to child, early and forced marriage, early pregnancy, and GBV. Primary research with students, parents, teachers and education officials aimed to identify the scale of challenges. Armed with this evidence, advocacy groups in the regions are undertaking data-driven advocacy and public mobilization through media engagement for the successful implementation of SDG 4 on education and SDG 5 on gender equality.

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Equal Measures 2030 Partners

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