Gender Equality in Chad

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Flag of Chad
Population (in Mil.) 12.72
Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB) 12.37
Sex Ratio (m/f) 0.93
Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m) 1.040816327
Fertility Rate 5.05
Estimated Earned Income (f/m) 0.62
Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m) 2.2
Women in Parliament (in %) 14.9
Human Development Index 184/187
Social Institutions and Gender Index 80/86
Gender Inequality Index 184/186
Gender Equity Index 152/168
Women’s Economic Opportunity Index 127/128
Global Gender Gap Index /68
More information on variables

Social Institutions

The population in Chad is characterized by a distinct split between ethnic groups who inhabit the north and those in south, a fact that has repercussions for gender issues. The north is home to the Arab, Peul and Hausa ethnic groups, who are Muslims and often livestock farmers; collectively, they represent half of the population. In the south, the dominant groups include Animists, who make up 39% of the population, and Christians, who make up 11%. The country’s largest ethnic group is the Saras, who live off agriculture.

Family Code

The Family Code of Chad grants almost no rights to women. Many marriages are arranged when girls are just 11 or 12 years old, and sometimes involve the payment of a dowry. Despite a law that prohibits sexual relationships with girls under the age of 14 years, even if they are married, the incidence of Early marriage is extremely high. A 2004 United Nations report estimated that 49% of girls between 15 and 19 years of age were married, divorced or widowed. The high incidence of marriage before the age of 16 years contributes to the very low level of girls’ enrolment in secondary school.

Polygamy is common in Chad: it is practised throughout the country and affects more than one-third of married women.

According to tradition, only men can be heads of families and exercise authority. Sharing parental authority for the children is always highly unfavourable to the mother. In the event of divorce, mothers can maintain custody only until children reach the age of five or six years.

Women in Chad face numerous discriminations in the matter of inheritance rights.

Physical Integrity

The physical integrity of women in Chad is very poorly protected. There is legislation prohibiting violence against women, but there are no specific provisions to protect women. Domestic violence remains common, but victims rarely initiate legal proceedings; families and the traditional authorities try to settle such cases themselves.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been prohibited in Chad since 2002 and the government has embarked on a campaign to eradiate the practice. About half of Chadian women have been subjected to FGM: sometimes only a single, symbolic cut is made but about one-third of women have been subjected to more severe forms. The prevalence of FGM varies widely depending on ethnic group, region, religion, education and standard of living. To date, it does not appear that the 2002 legislation is having much effect: statistics for FGM remain stable and the percentages of those subjected to the practice are similar across all age groups. There is, however, a decrease in the number of mothers who have subjected their daughters to FGM, or intend to do so. Thus, the 2002 legislation and educational efforts may yet have a positive impact.

Chad does not appear to be a country of concern in relation to Missing women.

Civil Liberties

In general, women in Chad have few civil liberties. In principle, women have Freedom of movement, but in some regions they must be accompanied by a man even for everyday tasks such as shopping. If a woman’s husband is away, she will ask one of her sons to accompany her. Freedom of dress exists for women in the south, but nearly all women in northern Chad are obliged to wear the veil.

Ownership Rights

Women in Chad have virtually no ownership rights. Access to land is very difficult for women as tradition reserves this right for men. In fact, Chadian men rarely grant women the right to own even a small plot of land. In general, Chadian women have very little access to property other than land.

In Chad, women’s Access to bank loans is severely limited by the need to obtain their husbands’ consent even to open a bank account.


  • AFROL, Gender profile: Chad, www.afrol;com.
  • Lang, J. (1998), Enquête sur la situation des femmes dans le monde, Rapport d’information no 733, Assemblée Nationale.
  • Ouagadjio, B. et al (2004), Enquête Démographique et de Santé Tchad 2004. Calverton, Maryland, U.S.A. : INSEED et ORC Macro.

Africa for Women's Rights Campaign

Key Facts:

Women’s rights protection instruments ratified by Chad:
  • CEDAW: ratified in 1995
  • CEDAW Protocol: not signed
  • Maputo Protocol: signed in 2004, not ratified

The Campaign

On 8 March 2009 the "Africa for Women's Rights" Campaign was launched at the initiative of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in collaboration with fove non-governmental regional organisations: the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies(ACDHRS), Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF) and Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA). These organisations make up the Steering Committee responsible for the coordination of the Campaign.

The Campaign aims to put an end to discrimination and violence against women in Africa, calling on states to ratify international and regional instruments protecting women's rights, to repeal all discriminatory laws, to adopt laws protecting the rights of women and to take all necessary measures to wensure their effective implementation.

Country Focus: Chad

Although Chad ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1995 it has not ratified either the Optional Protocol to CEDAW or the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

The Coalition of the Campaign is particularly concerned by: the persistence of discriminatory legislation; discrimination within the family; violence against women ; violations of women’s inheritance rights; and limited access of women to education, employment, decision-making positions, health and justice.

Read more


  • Focal Points: LTDH, ATPDH
  • Universal Periodic Review, Chad, July 2009
  • AWID, Association for Women’s Rights and Development,

The Women, Business and the Law

Where are laws equal for men and women?  

The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.

For detailed information on Chad, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law Chad


Progress Assessment of MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

Millennium Development Goal #3 is divided into three sub-categories, each of them focusing on different areas: education, employment wage and political power.

Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education

The ratios of girls to boys in primary education evolved from 0.44 in 1998 to 0.7 in 2009 [1]. Official Chadian projections deem favorable the prospect of gender parity at the the primary level school enrollment, while considering it for the secondary and tertiary levels, unlikely [2]

Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector

Women represent less than 20% of non-agricultural paid workers. UNDP/Chad estimates that the share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector will continue to be disappointing if no serious government initiatives were taken before 2015 [3].

Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament

10.5 of the national parliament seats were held by women in 2007 [4]. A conflicting estimate by UNDP Chad put this percentage at 6 for the national Parliament, while women detained 16% of ministerial portfolios[5].


  1. PNUD. Tchad.Le PNUD au Tchad
  2. PNUD. Tchad.OMD 3: Promouvoir l'égalité des sexes et l'autonomisation des femmes
  3. PNUD. Tchad.OMD 3: Promouvoir l'égalité des sexes et l'autonomisation des femmes
  4. MDG Track Monitor. Chad
  5. PNUD. Tchad.OMD 3: Promouvoir l'égalité des sexes et l'autonomisation des femmes

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