Cameroon ― Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ― Women's Education ― Jan. 2014

In 1994, Cameroon ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Under Article 10 of the document, Cameroon is to ensure equal rights for women in education, including equal access to curricula, materials, teachers, and schools. Further, Cameroon Law No. 98/004 establishes the legal framework which guarantees rights to education and also mandates primary school at no cost.

Despite legislative and international commitments, girls in Cameroon do not receive equal access to education. According to a 2012 study, only 46 percent of women and girls had finished primary education, and the literacy rate of adult women is markedly lower than that of adult men.

There are several barriers to girls’ education:

  • Families cannot afford extra fees associated with education, such as uniforms, books, attaining a birth certificate, and entrance examinations.
  • Parents choose to send their sons to school over their daughters as traditional cultural perceptions of domestic female gender roles prevails.
  • Marriage and pregnancy are further significant barriers to young women, as cultural and religious traditions discourage married or pregnant women from continuing their education.

The Advocates identified several recommendations and a list of questions the Committee should pose during its review of Cameroon’s compliance with its obligations under CEDAW.