International Women's Day

The African Union (AU) Commission has announced ‘equality between men and women’ has its new gender signature.

The Chairperson of the commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, announced the signature as he restated his call for dignity and protection for all women and girls who have been forcibly displaced in Africa.

In a statement commemorating the 2022 Pan African Women’s Day (PAWD), the commission’s chief said that one of his priorities remains the full implementation of the policy organs’ call to have gender parity in the workforce of the AU by 2025.

The PAWD is observed annually across the continent on 31 July. It 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.

One of the objectives of the Pan-African Women’s Organisation (PAWO), a representative body of women in Africa, is to strive to achieve effective and responsible participation of African women in the socio-economic and cultural development of the continent.

‘To achieve these laudable goals to which we all aspire, a collective effort is required. Also, I call for the mobilisation of the entire continent, in all its compartments, namely, the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities, the Member States, civil society organizations, the private sector, men and many obviously women, so that they join hands in a process of permanent consultation and support to make the celebration of this Day the mark of a new beginning, underpinned by our common desire to build the Africa that we want an Africa that celebrates women, an Africa whose signature will henceforth be equality between men and women’, Mahamat said.

The AU chairperson reiterated the important role of African women who continue to be the backbone of the continent’s economies as farmers, entrepreneurs, traders, scientists and leaders in many other sectors.

‘Africa’s Women’s Day offers a national, continental and global opportunity to recall and affirm the significant role of African women in the evolution of a strong Pan-African identity, with shared values, objectives and vision for the future, as well as women being key contributors towards achieving Africa’s inclusive growth and sustainable development agenda anchored in the AU vision of an integrated prosperous and peaceful Africa’, the statement read.

Celebrated under the theme, ‘Realising Women’s Human Capital for Inclusive Sustainable Development: Fight against the scourge of violence while improving food security and good nutrition in Africa’, the AU says it recognises the need to develop women’s intellectual and professional capacities.

‘Developing all the activities revealed by this theme, dense and multisectoral, will be the concrete expression of our collective commitment to work for a just and egalitarian society’, the statement added.

‘Indeed, the development of women’s intellectual and professional capacities, the increase in their level of education and, in general, their access to all forms of knowledge constitute a powerful factor of empowerment and a perfect shield against all forms of violence to which they may be subjected’.

Women have faced extensive challenges in Africa, and the Covid-19 pandemic simply amplified these challenges.

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.

Photo source: Michael Fleshman

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