Can strength of women’s contribution to Facebook users be a predictor of protection of their rights?

This post was inspired by a discussion on the Media Show on SAFM this morning, where results from the latest research report on Women’s Voice in Media were discussed by Lizette Khan, Gender Links and Krivani Pillay.

You can find a Storify of the key discussion points that were tweeted here. These specific tweets planted the idea for this post:

Clearly, our founder – Bra Willy Seyama – took interest in the topic and he urged us to publish this post :)

In this post we assess the strength of women’s voice on social media, using Facebook as a proxy.

Women’s contribution to Facebook users

We recently published a post about Facebook users from Africa, which showed that the continent grew the base of monthly active users by 39% to 203 million in 2017. While we shared other interesting insights in the post, we did not include women’s contribution to Facebook users.

RELATED POST: Facebook monthly active users grew by 39% in Africa in 2017

As part of gathering content for this post, some further crunching of Facebook stats revealed that, on average, 2 of every 5 Facebook monthly active users from Africa are women.

Women’s contribution to Facebook users varies by country in the interactive African map below:

Lowest Women Contribution to Facebook Users (South Sudan 🇸🇸 = 16%)
Highest Women Contribution to Facebook Users (South Africa 🇿🇦 = 50%)

Analysis of Facebook user stats from Africa reveals that women from South Africa (50%), Namibia (49%), Botswana (48%), Cape Verde(48%) and Lesotho (47%) have the highest contributions to Facebook users on the continent.

The bottom five women’s contributions are in Ethiopia (27%), Burkina Faso (25%), Niger (19%), Chad (17%) and South Sudan (16%).

Reasons for varying gender contributions to Facebook users from Africa

Clint Griffin gives the following reasons for the varying women’s contributions to Facebook users across Africa:

Despite differences between Clint’s quoted South African user gender split on Facebook and our finding as indicated above, the spirit of his points is not lost; and we are inclined to agree.

Top 20 South African celebrities on Facebook

Out of curiosity, we checked the top 20 South African celebrity Facebook fan pages, to see how many women appear. Here they are, according to SocialBakers:

Social Bakers Top 20 Celebrities on Facebook in 2017

If you are happy to include Charlize Theron as Social Bakers did, how many women are in the top 20 South African Facebook celebrity fan pages? Any thoughts on why the number is higher or lower than you would expect? Leave a comment here below.


Can women’s contribution to Facebook users from Africa be a good indication of the strength of their voice in media in general? Can this, in turn, enhance protection of their rights?

Asked differently. Does South Africa, by the mere fact that the country has the highest contribution of women to Facebook users on the continent, fair better than all the other 53 countries on the continent in the protection of women’s rights?

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