Chairperson of the African Union, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, has said if the challenges facing women and girls in Africa are not addressed they will pose a real risk of reversing the gains made in the empowerment of women in Africa.
At the Opening Ceremony of the 4th African Union High-Level Panel on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment on “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth: Empowering Young Women and Girls” ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA 29 June 2017, Mahamat said security and stability are critical fundamentals for any society to realize economic development.
Mahamat said security and stability have direct and long term effects on the creation of a safe and stable environment for state and non-state actors to collaborate actively in achieving vibrant economies that provide the basis for the development.
He continued, however, that, incidences of conflict in some parts of the continent are a major concern.
“This is why very early in my tenure, I resolved to undertake a number of high-level visits to countries in conflict to observe for myself the impact on our people, but also to explore with member state authorities the opportunities that exist for ending conflicts and silencing the guns in the continent.
Mahamat said during his visits to refugee camps he witnessed the unspeakable suffering of people and observed first-hand that conflict, war and guns disproportionately affect women and girls. I saw for myself the fear and despair in the eyes of women and children in these camps. These scenes will forever mark
“I saw for myself the fear and despair in the eyes of women and children in these camps. These scenes will forever mark me and have served to reinforce my personal commitment to ensure that conflict in our continent must stop. As Chairperson of the Commission this will remain one of my top priorities,” he said.
Mahamat said women and girls face more difficulties and barriers than young men and boys, and that the challenges, if not robustly dealt with, pose a real risk of reversing the gains made in the empowerment of women in Africa.
“These challenges include , violence against women and girls, harmful traditional practices, unequal pay for equal work for women, exclusion of women from economic opportunities, legal impediments to land ownership and to inheritance, poor health maternal health services and access to sexual and reproductive health services,” he said.
According to UNWOMEN, The African continent has demonstrated commitment to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and that almost all countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; more than half have ratified the African Union’s Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. Other milestones, UNWOMEN continued, include the African Union’s declaration of 2010–2020 as the African Women’s Decade.