Women Fighting Poverty in Cameroon: A Legal Perspective!


Poverty in Sub Saharan Africa has many causes, which range from the impact of the Structural Adjustment Programs, the huge foreign debt and policies that encourage mismanagement of state resources. This growing poverty and underdevelopment has attracted the attention of the international community to pursue programs aimed at attaining the UN Millennium Development Goals, foreign debt relief and increased development aid. During the introduction of policies that brought about economic hardship, African women were not consulted and their voices were not heard. Yet it is these women who feel most of the impact of these policies. During the period of the economic crisis, women did not remain silent in the face of the growing poverty. As a response, they organized themselves into groups for financial and self-help purposes. These organized women’s groups if legally and financially empowered will contribute a great deal in the fight against poverty in Cameroon. Micro financing is an important tool common in these groups, but it must be supported by the provision of basic resources and infrastructure. Women make up more than75% of subsistence farmers and are mostly found in the informal sector, their contribution helps to sustain the economy greatly, but it is still insufficient to make any significant improvement in their living standards. The inhibition stems from traditional and cultures practices that hinder women from claiming equal ownership and equal representation in decision-making settings. Hence, a good economic regulatory framework by any government fighting poverty should incorporate the economic and legal empowerment of women and target mostly rural women and their basic needs.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Human Rights Law | International Law | Law | Law and Economics | Law and Gender | Law and Society

Date of this Version

June 2006