25 November 2010 marks Five (5) years of the coming into force of the protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa. This notable human rights document for the first time addressed the rights of women in the African continent and seeks to protect this rights. It was adopted in 2003 but came into force in 2005 when it obtained 15 ratifications. As at October 2010, only 29 out of 53 African Union States have ratified the protocol. While implementation is still problematic with low recognition and ineffective legal protection of these rights, certain achievements have been won e.g. in increasing women's participation in politics (The first female president is from Liberia; Rwanda and Burundi have 50% or more female representatives in government).
Many areas which are critical and need to be addressed include: Women's sexual and reproductive health, inheritance law, equality in employment and gender-based violence. As the African Union's Decade on Women begins from 2010 - 2020, there are opportunities for African States' to reinforce their commitment to rights of women and to attain universal ratification of the protocol.