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New Afrobarometer Pan-Africa Profile reveals gender-based violence as top priority for women’s rights in Africa

According to Afrobarometer’s latest Pan-Africa Profile, gender-based violence (GBV) is considered the most important women’s-rights issue that Africans want their government and society to address. Almost four in 10 respondents across 39 countries say GBV is common in their community, but perceptions vary widely by country and demographic group.

The survey findings show that while most Africans believe that men are never justified in using physical force to discipline their wives, there is a divide on how domestic violence should be handled, with half considering it a criminal matter and the other half seeing it as a private family issue. Additionally, while most Africans trust that the police will take reported cases seriously, more than half believe that women who report such crimes are likely to face criticism, harassment, or shaming from their community.

Africans’ perceptions of GBV vary widely by country and demographic group, suggesting that a woman’s fundamental right to safety depends at least in part on her location and circumstances.

Key findings from the survey reveal that 31% of respondents see GBV as the most important women’s-rights-related issue that their government and society need to address, followed by inequalities in education and the workplace. On average, almost four in 10 citizens say GBV is common in their community, with variations by country and citizen status. Many believe that it is never justified for a man to use physical force to discipline his wife, but there is still a significant portion who consider it justified. Additionally, there is a divide on whether domestic violence should be treated as a criminal matter or a private one, and many believe that victims of GBV will face criticism and shaming if they report to the police.

For more information, please contact Josephine Appiah-Nyamekye Sanny, Afrobarometer communications and knowledge manager, at or +233240933.

Follow Afrobarometer on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube and visit their website at Also, follow their releases on #VoicesAfrica.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Round 9 surveys (2021/2023) include 54,436 interviews in 39 countries. Afrobarometer’s national partners conduct face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice that yield country-level results with margins of error of +/-2 to +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.


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