Addis Ababa, 8 March 2016 (ECA) – The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will continue to work for the advancement of African women through various programmes specifically aiming to promote gender equality, women’s rights and empowerment, Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes said Tuesday.
While acknowledging that much still needs to be done to address gender imbalances on the continent, Mr. Lopes said in his message marking International Women’s Day, that he’s proud of the great strides made so far by Africa in trying to uplift its women.
“Today we are saluting, celebrating and acknowledging the contribution by the millions of African women to the development of the continent through sheer tenacity,” said Mr. Lopes.
“While we recognize the gains made in achieving gender parity and eradicating discrimination against women, I remain deeply concerned that the gains made may be reversed if we forget that much still needs to be done towards uplifting African women by continuing to break down gender barriers that stop women and girls from realising their full potential.”
He said women, despite some huge strides achieved so far, remain at the periphery of economic and political activity and continue to be the face of poverty and disease in Africa with progress towards achieving gender parity remaining painstakingly slow in some countries.
This year’s theme; Planet 50-50 by 2020: Step it Up for Gender Equality, resonates with tremendous on-going efforts to bring gender equality and women’s empowerment to the center of continental and global development frameworks, he said.
A lot of work by the ECA in partnership with major pan African institutions is testimony to that commitment.
“At the ECA we do not only talk about women empowerment without action,” said Mr. Lopes. “We do not remember women only on the 8th of March every year but women’s empowerment is an integral part of our work as we seek ways through which to develop the continent.”
The year 2015, he said, was historic with the ECA supporting the African Union to develop the African Gender Equality Score Cards, which provides Heads of States and government with accountability mechanisms to address gender equality and women’s empowerment gaps. This was in the context of the 2015 theme of Women’s Empowerment and Development in the Context of Agenda 2063.
He said theECA continues to align its programs to support African member States to attain commitments made to Beijing +20 Outcome documents, Agenda 2030 to Sustainable Development and to the African Union Agenda 2063.
The ECA, said Mr. Lopes, recommits its pledge to attain the gender parity targets that were set in 2013 saying this will make the ECA lead by example and affirm it as an issue of justice.
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