As Africa gears up for the post-2015 development negotiations participants attending the experts segment of the 9th Regional Review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing +20) which started on Monday in Addis Ababa, said that the transformative agenda that African governments have been planning to implement to overturn Africa’s economic fortunes has to be gender sensitive across the key sectors of the continent’s economy.
“Despite the social progress made over the last 20 years and most notably between 2009 and 2014, there has been little progress made in lifting women out of poverty,” said Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Chief of the African Center for Gender, during her keynote address to the delegates. “It is important for governments to reflect on how gender-sensitive their industrial, broad-base educational, investment and trade, as well as social services strategies are. Putting women at the center of such plans would be crucial to lifting them out of poverty," she said.
Participants underscored that most of the gains made in women's and girls' rights since the holding of the International Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 have come under various threats and are facing persistent challenges. These stem from widening inequalities between the rich and poor and between men and women due to prioritization of macroeconomic policies that are driven by growth without equitable development and respect for human rights. Also posing a threat to progress are HIV, maternal mortality and morbidity; the rise of radical and extremist groups; as well as resources for civil society and macroeconomic policies that perpetuate inequalities as noted in the NGO Forum Declaration presented to the participants on Monday morning.
The regional review aims to discuss the progress made in the field of women's and girls' rights 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) was adopted. BPfA is a landmark visionary roadmap for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment as set out by governments during the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing 1995. The Regional Conference ends on Wednesday 19 November with a ministerial session.
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