Country Specific Information - Gabon






% of women

Number of women

Women in decision making

Women ministers




Women in parliament (lower house)




Women in parliament (upper house)




Women in local government




Women judges




Land rights


Women land holders 






VAW- Legal and policy developments







Does not have a special provision enshrining gender equality. However, article 1 (7) states that: “Each citizen shall have the right to work and the right to obtain employment. No one shall be impaired in his work by reason of his origins, his sex, his race, or his opinions”.


Penal Code

The minimum legal age of marriage is 15 years for women and 18 years for men, and the incidence of early marriage is high. Polygamy is legal under the Code, which allows both men and women to have several spouses. The law states that couples must stipulate at the time of marriage whether they intend to adhere to a monogamous or a polygamous relationship. The law is discriminatory in the sense that if the couple opts for monogamy, the husband may later refute his first choice and pursue polygamy. In practice, the right to multiple spouses is reserved for men only. Gabon’s inheritance laws remain discriminatory. Widows cannot inherit property from their husbands without written authorization of the family of the deceased. Moreover, they are deprived of their right of usufruct if they remarry into a family other than that of their deceased spouse. Rape is punished by the Penal Code with imprisonment of five to 10 years. If the crime is committed against a child under 15, the offender can be sentenced to hard labour for life. The Code prohibits prostitution and procuring. Anyone who acts to protect or promote prostitution could be sentenced to imprisonment or a fine.


The Civil Code

States that by marrying, a woman makes a commitment to obey her husband, who is empowered as the head of the family. The husband thus decides on the domicile where the wife is obliged to live and where the husband is obliged to provide for her, for the duration of the marriage


Nationality Code was revised

A provision that authorizes both spouses to obtain the nationality of the other. In 2000 legislation that forbade contraceptive use was repealed


Penal Code was amended

Amended to prevent and combat trafficking in children


Drafted National Gender Policy




There is no specific legislation to address domestic violence.


Policies and strategies to address violence against women

UNIFEM has supported the work of women’s rights organizations and parliamentarians to promote women’s rights in legislative and policy initiatives. Women’s rights NGOs - such as ALCR (combating ritual crime), Cri de Femmes (women's rights), AVOGAB (women's and orphan's rights), Groupe Consience (promoting sex workers' rights) - provide assistance to victims of violence and also run awareness campaigns.



International instruments

·         CEDAW (signed 1980, ratified 1983)

·         OP CEDAW (ratified 2004)

·         ACHPR (signed 1982, ratified 1986)

·         PACHPRRWA (signed 2005)

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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa