Delegates from 14 African Countries Gather in Mauritius to Promote Women Leadership in Public Institutions

This initiative aims at building capacities to enhance the presence and leadership of women within public institutions at national and local levels across Africa.

June 5, 2024

Around 25 participants from 14 African countries will explore and share best practices aimed at fostering gender-inclusive policies within public administration.

UNDP Mauritius / Jean-Yan Norbert

In a significant step towards fostering gender equality and enhancing women's leadership roles, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and UN Women, are organizing a regional workshop in Mauritius from 04 to 07 June 2024. This event aims at providing a platform to around 25 participants from 14 countries, to explore strategies that will promote the active participation and leadership of women within public institutions across the African continent. 

Towards Gender Equality in Public Administration 

While women are well-represented in public administration in many countries, they remain significantly outnumbered by men in leadership and decision-making positions. To respond to these challenges, the UNDP spearheaded the global Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) initiative, which aimed at supporting women’s empowerment and expanding their participation and leadership in public institutions. This initiative also contributed to the availability of up-to-date information on gender equality in public to facilitate informed policy and decision-making.

In this context, UNDP partnered with UNDESA and UN Women under the  “Building capacities for promoting the presence and leadership of women within public institutions at national and local levels” project, under which this regional workshop is being organised. Aligned with SDG 5 - Gender Equality and SDG 16 - Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, the project aims to support the implementation of national action plans to enhance the leadership of women in public institutions and promote equal participation in shaping public policies. It is funded by the Government of Italy and is implemented in 4 countries, namely Mauritius, Senegal, Bhutan, and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. 

Ahead of the Regional Workshop, a national review of existing policies, institutional culture, practices, and relevant legislation was undertaken to identify gender gaps and limitations that hinder women’s access to leadership positions in public administration in Mauritius and Rodrigues. Two capacity building workshops were also organized by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare and the UNDP in Mauritius on 28 March and 17 April 2024 respectively. This was an opportunity to enhance awareness of government officials on the importance of prioritizing gender parity in public administration and enhance their capacity to develop action plans towards that goal. Feedback and data collected during these exercises facilitated the creation of the draft action plan for Mauritius, which will be presented and discussed during the regional workshop.


Gender Mainstreaming for efficient and inclusive development

During the opening ceremony of the regional workshop, Ms. Fatuma Musa, Officer in Charge, UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles, emphasized that gender mainstreaming should be seen as a government wide strategy for efficiency and inclusive development, rather than a stand-alone goal: “Any established sustainable development pathway must bear an explicit commitment to gender mainstreaming, gender equality and equity, to ensure that both women and men are active players in development and reap equally the benefits there-of

In her address, H. E. Ms. Lisa Simrique Singh, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Mauritius & Seychelles, highlighted that gender equality is not only a basic human right, but is also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development: “We cannot have resilient, sustainable development if women are not at the table. Gender cuts across all the SDGs - Without gender equality, you cannot progress in any of the goals.

Mr. Veersingh Boodhna, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Administrative and Institutional Reforms, reaffirmed Mauritius’ commitment to abide to internation conventions regarding gender equality and women empowerment: “Mauritius is a party to several international conventions, and many amendments have been brought to the existing legislation with a view to domesticate the recommendations from all these conventions.

An opportunity for South-South Knowledge Exchange

Over the course of the next four days, participants will engage by sharing country-specific experiences and explore best practices aimed at fostering gender-inclusive policies within public administration. Conversations will primarily focus on topics such as institutional and policy frameworks; Human resource policies and practices; and Evidence and data-based analysis. 

Through these discussions, attendees will enhance their capacity to apply gender-responsive approaches promoting gender equality across all levels of public administration. Additionally, the workshop will feature a review of draft action plans developed by Mauritius and Senegal, the project countries. This collaborative review process will provide key insights and feedback, contributing to the refinement and strengthening of these action plans.



A United Nations Public Service Forum will be held as from 24 to 26 June 2024, in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will provide a global platform for the four project countries (Mauritius, Senegal, Laos and Bhutan) to meet, share their experiences and compare lessons learnt. Five participants, including 4 Mauritius and 1 Rodrigues, will be attending the global workshop.