Prime Minister Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda told AFP on Friday that Gabon would be presenting three parliamentary proposals aimed at strengthening gender equality, primarily through the battle against “rape” and “discrimination.”
One of the texts provides for mutual consent to divorce. And cheating by a man or a woman would require the two marriages to be split, although until now, the man before the judge could invoke it.
A Gabonese woman even now has a rule that requires “obedience” to her husband. This will end with the proposed reforms; AFP was guaranteed in an interview with the administration’s pioneering head.
IBRAF congratulates Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda on becoming the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Gabon. This is a great example and a major step towards gender equality in Africa and in the world. 🇬🇦 🌍 pic.twitter.com/qvC1X1r86S
— Brazil Africa Institute / Instituto Brasil África (@weareibraf) July 18, 2020
“It was time to strengthen this protection for women by progressively eliminating the discrimination and violence against them,” Ms. Ossouka Raponda said.
On Tuesday, a council of ministers introduced three bills, one on “the abolition of violence against women,” the other two on amending the criminal code and the civil code, which, by making the husband the only head of the household, still enshrines the preeminence of the man in the couple.
The National Assembly and the Senate have yet to vote on these bills. In contrast, Ali Bongo Ondimba, which governed Gabon in his last father, Omar Bongo, has dominated both houses since his first election in 2009.
“Today, the husband is the head of the family, the wife must obey the husband, and it is the husband who has the choice of residence” for the family, explains Ms. Ossouka Raponda.
With the new bills, she vows that a woman will share the head of the family with the man.
Any abuse against a partner in a family can also lead to divorce.
“We want the entire family to be safeguarded,” said the Prime Minister.
How do you say “gender equality” in your native tongue? pic.twitter.com/9TtgDVwT7y
— UN Women (@UN_Women) February 21, 2019
The draft revision of the penal code extends to a certain degree, although it remains strongly conditional, the right to voluntary pregnancy termination.
Ms. Ossouka Raponda said, “This is still not the right moment.”
The patient’s pain will no longer have to be “grave” in an abortion, and a physician’s opinions need to delete this.
These changes have also led to heated social network conversations. Decriminalizing homosexuality led to a significant portion of national opinion being strongly protested in 2020.
Gabon, a small Central African Republic, was ranked 41st among 48 sub-Saharan African countries to support the rights of women in a new World Bank study called ‘Women, Business and Law 2021.