Malawi has been ranked number five in the inaugural Africa Gender Equality Index published by the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Monday.
The Index, which covers 52 of Africa’s 54 countries and draws together a large body of data, gives an overview of the legal, social and economic gaps between men and women.
The survey measures the differences across three dimensions: economic opportunities, human development, and law and institutions, each dimension draws on a set of indicators that provide an overall score for every country.
Malawi scored 73 points, with 100 representing perfect gender equality.
South Africa topped the survey with 74.5 points followed by Rwanda and Namibia with 74 points, and Mauritius with 73.5.
“At present, the scores of African countries range from 15.8 to 74.5, with an average score of 54.1. The ranking enables us to identify the countries that are doing best on gender equality [South Africa, Rwanda, Namibia, Mauritius and Malawi are the top five]—and, over time, the best improvers,” the AfDB report noted.
In terms of economic opportunities, which measure the gap between men and women in terms of their participation in labour, and their wages and incomes, Malawi has led in the category with 88 points.
On the human development indicator which measures literacy rates and school enrolment rates as well as reproductive health such as maternal mortality ratios and births attended by skilled health staff, the country does not even make it in the top 10, but Mauritius comes out tops with 97 points.
The findings, according to AfDB, will give African leaders, policymakers, economists and civil society the evidence they need to begin dismantling the barriers that prevent women from making a full contribution to the continent’s development.
The worst performer on the Index is Somalia, which has scored 15.8 points.