Chad is ranked 80 out of 86 in the 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index.
The country was ranked 97 out of 102 in the 2009 Social Institutions and Gender Index.
In 2011, the Human Development Index for Chad was 0.328, placing Chad at 183 out of 187 countries with data. The Gender-related Development Index for Chad is 0.735, placing Chad at 145 out of 146 countries with data. The World Economic Forum ranked Chad at 134 out of 135 countries in its Global Gender Gap Report. On the Index, Chad received a score of 0.5334, where 0 represents inequality and 1 represents equality.
The Civil Code of Chad sets the minimum age of marriage at 15 for girls and 18 for boys. However, there is a conflict between the Civil Code, the Penal Code and customary laws on the minimum age of marriage. Article 277 of the Penal Code stipulates that “the consummation of a customary marriage before a girl has reached the age of 13 is similar to rape and shall be punished as such”. Thus the Penal Code permits customary marriages at earlier ages, even when girls have not reached the age of 13, under the condition that it is not consummated. It should be noted that the government is currently considering a draft code on the person and family which sets the minimum age for marriage at 18 for boys and 17 for girls.
The Centre for Reproductive Rights reports that most marriages in Chad are customary and thus do not adhere to the minimum age set out in the Civil Code. Based on 2004 data, the United Nations reports that 45 percent of 15-19 year olds were married, divorced or widowed. This represents a small decline in the practice since 1997 when UNICEF reported that 47 percent of 15-19 year olds were married, divorced or widowed. Adolescent pregnancy is also common in Chad, with 193 births per 1000 women aged 15-19.
Forced marriage is also reported to be a problem in Chad. In 2005, the United Nations Special Human Rights Expert on Chad highlighted that 30 percent of women reported being forced to marry against their will.
The law in Chad positions polygamy as the assumed marital preference by requiring spouses to opt out of polygamous marriage. If the couple opts out of polygamy and the husband breaches this decision, the marriage may be dissolved at the wife’s request.
A 2004 Demographic Health Survey found that 29 percent of married women were in polygamous marriages. The survey found that the incidence of polygamous marriages was similar to 1996, indicating no change in the practice of polygamous marriages between 1996 and 2004.
There is a lack of clarity on women’s status with respect to parental authority, however the government reported in 2011 that it was considering a draft code which will raise the status and role of women in terms of authority over the family by stressing that “the married couple assume together the same responsibilities during the marriage and in family relations.” This implies that current law does not provide women with equal rights with respect to parental authority during marriage. With respect to divorce, the court must pronounce a divorce, which may be either fault-based or through mutual consent. If the divorce is pronounced as the husband’s fault, the wife obtains custody of the children and is entitled to alimony payments. However, the Centre for Reproductive Rights reports that despite these legal protections, women are often vulnerable after divorce as rights are not exercised or guaranteed in practice due to the lower social status of women.
Women in Chad face discrimination in the area of inheritance rights, particularly as succession is primarily governed by customary and Sharia law. Under customary law, women do not inherit from deceased husbands at all. Under Sharia law, a widow will only inherit one quarter of the property. Girls generally inherit only one half of the share inherited by boys.
 United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2009)  Centre for Reproductive Rights (2003) p.106  United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2007a) p.6  Centre for Reproductive Rights (2003) p.106  United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2008)  UNICEF (2005a) p.36  World Economic Forum (2010) p.100  United Nations Economic and Social Council (2005) p.13  Centre for Reproductive Rights (2003) p.103  Demographic Health Surveys (2005)  CEDAW (2011) p.71  Centre for Reproductive Rights (2003) p.103  Centre for Reproductive Rights (2003) p.103  United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2007b) p.19
According to the US Department of State, rape is prohibited by law, punishable by hard labour. There is no law prohibiting marital rape. There is no specific law prohibiting domestic violence against women, however assault and battery is prohibited under the Penal Code. There is no law that prohibits sexual harassment.
There has been concern about the level of gender-based violence in Chad, particularly in internally displaced persons sites, refugee camps and surrounding villages. For instance, Human Rights Watch has documented numerous instances of gender-based violence within camps for refugees and displaced persons, with women complaining of physical abuse by male residents of the camps, including male family members.
According to a recent survey by UNFPA, women continue to suffer from numerous forms of gender‐based violence. The survey found that 62 percent of women suffer from psychological violence, 27 percent from physical violence, and 19 percent from sexual violence.
A key problem in Chad is the under-reporting of gender-based violence and the culture of impunity. The US Department of State reports that although police often arrested and detained perpetrators, rape cases were not usually investigated and in most cases suspects were released. With respect to domestic violence, socio-cultural norms that place value on the authority of husbands also prevent women from reporting domestic violence.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been prohibited in Chad since 2002 and the government has embarked on a campaign to eradicate the practice. The prevalence of FGM varies depending on ethnic group, region, religion, education and standard of living. Girls commonly undergo FGM between the ages of 5 and 14. Based on 2004 data, the World Health Organisation estimates that 45 percent of women aged 15-49 in Chad had undergone FGM. UNICEF reports, based on the same 2004 survey, that 21 percent of women aged 15 to 49 reported having at least one daughter who had undergone FGM. This suggests that the acceptance of the practice may be declining down generations.
Having control over the timing and spacing of children is an important aspect of women’s physical integrity. In Chad, abortion is treated as a criminal act. It is allowed only in a very limited number of cases, primarily for therapeutic reasons to save the woman’s life or to prevent foetal impairment. The Penal Code punishes the practice of abortion harshly. The use of contraceptives in Chad is very low with only 3 percent of married women using contraceptives in 2004. The same survey found that 21 of women had an unmet need for family planning. A challenge to increasing women’s reproductive choice in Chad is resistance towards family planning. The 2004 survey found that 41 percent of women believe that it is unacceptable to have messages about family planning on the radio or television.
 US Department of State (2010)  United Nations Economic and Social Council (2003) p.37  United Nations General Assembly (2009b) p.7 United Nations General Assembly (2009c) p.5  UNFPA (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2007a) p.13  UNICEF (2005b)  United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2007b) p.37  World Health Organisation (n.d.)  UNICEF (2009)  United Nations Population Division (2007)  Centre for Reproductive Rights (2003) p.100  Demographic Health Surveys (2005)
Gender disaggregated data on rates of infant mortality and early childhood nutrition are not available for Chad. According to UNICEF’s data, child labour is slightly more common amongst boys than girls, with 51 percent of 5-14 year old girls engaged in child labour, compared to 54 percent of boys. However, there is a large gap between the primary school enrolment rates of boys and girls, indicating the preferential treatment of sons in access to education. According to UNICEF, based on 2008 data, 72 percent of boys are enrolled in primary school, compared to 50 percent of girls.
The male/female sex ratio for the total population in 2012 is 0.93.
There is no evidence to suggest that Chad is a country of concern in relation to missing women.
Although the law on land ownership does not explicitly discriminate against women, discriminatory practices in relation to inheritance pose significant barriers to women’s land ownership. In 2011, the government reported that social and cultural norms prevent women from accessing land and women are further disadvantaged due to their poor economic status.
With respect to property other than land, the law does not discriminate against women, but discriminatory inheritance practices disadvantage women. However, the Centre for Reproductive Rights reports that it is easier for women to acquire property in cities, compared to rural areas, depending on their financial capacity.
With respect to access to credit, the Centre for Reproductive Rights reports that there are no specific laws that govern women’s access to credit. However, the social and economic position of women places barriers to obtaining bank loans. As women do not generally own land or property they are unable to offer collateral for loan applications.
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.
Women’s freedom of movement in Chad is also infringed by the threat of violence, including sexual violence. The US Department of State reported in 2009 that women were commonly subjected to sexual violence from state actors in International Displaced Persons sites and refugee camps. Further, in some areas there are restrictions on whether women and girls can enter sites where an initiation ceremony is to take place. Under customary law, a violation of this restriction is punishable by death. In some parts of the country, there have been reports that women behaving “contrary to Islam” may have been constrained in specific quarters inside Koranic schools.
Although the constitution provides for freedom of press and freedom association, the US Department of State reports that both these rights are not respected by the government. There is no data on whether the infringement of these rights has a particular impact on women.
The participation of women in public life in Chad is very low, leading the United Nations Human Rights Committee to recommend that the government makes further efforts in this area. According to the World Economic Forum in 2010, women hold only 5 percent of parliamentary positions and 7 percent of ministerial positions.
Women in Chad are also restricted in their right to employment. The law in Chad restricts the number of hours women can work and also excludes them from several occupations. However, women do have a right to paid maternity leave of 14 weeks, to be paid at 50 percent of wages.
 Centre for Reproductive Rights (2003) p. 103  Centre for Reproductive Rights (2003) p.104  US Department of State (2010)  United Nations General Assembly (2009b) p.8  US Department of State (2010)  United Nations Human Rights Committee (2009)  World Economic Forum (2010) p.100  United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2009) p.9  World Economic Forum (2010) p.100
The country of Chad became independent from French rule in 1960. Following independence, Chad endured three decades of civil warfare until 1990. Since 1998, there has been ongoing instability and conflict despite several peace agreements between the government and rebel groups. The population in Chad is characterised by a distinct division between ethnic groups who inhabit the north and those who live in the south. The north is home to the Arab, Peul and Hausa ethnic groups, who are Muslims representing half the population. In the south, the dominant groups include Animists, who make up 39 per cent of the population, and Christians, who make up 11 per cent. The World Bank classifies Chad as a low income country.
The status of women in Chad has been significantly affected by decades of conflict, leaving women vulnerable to serious levels of violence and poverty. Furthermore, the position of women is also undermined by discriminatory practices that entrench women’s unequal status in the home and public life. A key challenge for achieving gender equality in Chad is the persistence of attitudes that accept such discriminatory practices.
The constitution in Chad guarantees gender equality. Chad ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1990.
Central Intelligence Agency (2010) The World Factbook: Chad, available at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cd.html, accessed 21 October 2010.
Central Intelligence Agency (2012) The World Factbook: Sex Ratio, available at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2018.html, accessed 29 February 2012.
Centre for Reproductive Rights (2003) Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives: Chad, available at http://crr.civicactions.net/sites/default/files/documents/chad.pdf, accessed 31 October 2010.
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (2011) Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Combined initial to fourth periodic reports of States parties, Chad, CEDAW/C/TCD/1-4, Geneva.
Demographic Health Survey (2005) Chad: Standard DHS, 2004 – online data, available at http://www.statcompiler.com/index.cfm, accessed 31 October 2010.
UNFPA (2010) Chad: Consolidated Humanitarian Appeals Process 2010, Available at http://www.unfpa.org/emergencies/appeals/2010/docs/chad_2010.pdf, accessed 31 October 2010.
UNICEF (2005a) Early Marriage: A Harmful Traditional Practice, Available at http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Early_Marriage_12.lo.pdf, accessed 29 October 2010.
UNICEF (2005b) Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Statistical Exploration, Available at http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/FGM-C_final_10_October.pdf, accessed 31 October 2010.
UNICEF (2009) UNICEF (2009) State of the World’s Children – online data, Available at http://www.unicef.org/sowc09/statistics/statistics.php, accessed 22 October 2010.
United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2009) Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Combined initial and second and third periodic reports under articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant, Chad, E/C.12/TCD/3, Geneva
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2007a) Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 44 of the Convention, Concluding Observations: Chad, CRC/C/TCD/CO/2, Geneva.
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2007b) Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 44 of the Convention, Second periodic reports of States Parties due in 1997: Chad, CRC/C/TCD/2, Geneva.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2008) World Marriage Data 2008, available at http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/WMD2008/Main.html, accessed 10 October 2010.
United Nations Development Programme (2009) Human Development Report 2009 Chad, online edition, available at http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_TCD.html, accessed 20 October 2010.
United Nations Development Programme (2011) Human Development Report 2011, Available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Complete.pdf, accessed 29 February 2012.
United Nations Economic and Social Council (2003) Integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective, Violence Against Women, Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, submitted in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/52, Addendum 1, E/CN.4/2003/75/Add.1, Geneva.
United Nations Economic and Social Council (2005) Advisory Services and Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights, Situation of human rights in Chad, Report prepared by the Independent Expert, Mónica Pinto, E/CN.4/2005/121, Geneva.
United Nations General Assembly (2009a) Human Rights Council, Working Group on Universal Periodic Review, National Report Submitted in accordance with paragraph 15 (a) of the annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: Chad, A/HRC/WG.6/5/TCD/1, Geneva.
United Nations General Assembly (2009b) Human Rights Council, Working Group on Universal Periodic Review, Compilation Prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, In Accordance with Paragraph 15(b) of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: Chad, A/HRC/WG.6/5/TCD/2, Geneva.
United Nations General Assembly (2009c) Human Rights Council, Working Group on Universal Periodic Review, Summary Prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, In Accordance with Paragraph 15(c) of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: Chad, A/HRC/WG.6/5/TCD/3, Geneva.
United Nations General Assembly (2009d) Human Rights Council, Working Group on Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Chad, A/HRC/12/5, Geneva.
United Nations Human Rights Committee (2009) Consideration of Reports Submitted by State Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, Concluding Observations of the Human Right Committee Chad, CCPR/C/TCD/CO/1, Geneva.
United Nations Population Division (2007) World Abortion Policies 2007, Available at http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/2007_Abortion_Policies_Chart/2007_WallChart.pdf, accessed 13 October 2010.
US Department of State (2010) Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Chad, available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135945.htm, accessed 30 October 2010.
World Economic Forum (2010) Global Gender Gap Report 2010, Available at http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/report2010.pdf, accessed 20 October 2010.
World Economic Forum (2011) The Global Gender Gap Report 2011, Available at http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GenderGap_Report_2011.pdf, accessed 2 March 2012.
World Health Organisation (n.d.) Female genital mutilation and other harmful practices: Prevalence of FGM, available at http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/prevalence/en/index.html, accessed 31 October 2010.