African Union (AU) marked the 2021 Pan African Women’s Day (PAWD) with an Intergenerational Dialogue (IGD) on gender equality.
The virtual event, which was organised in conjunction with UNICEF, UNFPA, and UN Women, was themed ‘Building the Africa We Want: The Role of Youth in Fostering Gender Equality’.
The Generation Equality campaign demands equal pay, end to sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls.
‘Violence against women and girls has become a devastating pandemic on its own, which threatens women and girls’ development and their ability to reach their potential’, the AU’s Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop, said.
‘The youth must be at the forefront of the battle against gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful practices’.
For her part, the Deputy Chairperson at the AU, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, said, ‘Within the Commission we are committed to achieving 35 percent gender parity and prioritising the employment of youth for certain positions’.
Agenda 2063 was launched by the AU in 2015 as a masterplan with seven goals that will engineer the transformation of Africa into a global powerhouse by then.
Responding to how the AU promotes and supports youth empowerment, the AU Commissioner of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Sarah Agbor, outlined an array of youth-focused programmes that address socio-economic development.
The one Million By 2021 initiative, the AU Youth Volunteer Corps Programme, Young African Women Leadership Network, Continental Education Skills for Africa, and Specialised Technical Community are some of the programmes.
Also speaking, Head of the AU Youth Division, Prudence Ngwenga, highlighted the significant role young people should play in ensuring gender parity towards a prosperous and integrated Africa.
‘The Egumeni conversation is a charge we must keep. As the youth of Africa, you must be at the forefront of the battle against gender-based violence and harmful practice’, she said.
PAWD, observed annually across Africa on 31 July, is a day earmarked to recognise and affirm the role of women in achieving the political freedom of Africa and advancing the social and economic status of women on the continent.
Photo source: YWCA Canada