The Unit was initially established in 1993 as the Gender Unit and has since evolved to focus on the improvement of the quality of life and the status of women (and the girl child) in Africa. Consequently, in 2017 it was renamed the Women's Rights Unit. 

The Unit approaches women’s rights holistically and uses inter-disciplinary approaches to address women and gender issues.  Consequently, it draws from disciplines such as sociology, anthropology in addition to (human rights) law. The Unit conducts research, training and advocacy to promote implementation and popularisation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and other international instruments related to the rights of women. The Unit aims further to support the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa and strengthen regional mechanisms with a commitment to the advancement of women's rights. It promotes gender sensitive policies and practices as well as strategises for the provision of equal opportunities for women in Africa. 

For more information on the Unit’s projects, please click here.