Rights campaigners from 150 women’s organisations from 35 African countries converge on Nairobi on Wednesday to discuss, among other things, governments’ delivery on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
The two-day meeting — billed as the largest pan-African women’s conference in Nairobi since 2015 and which is hosted by the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (Femnet) — seeks to find ways of pushing African governments to effectively deliver on the agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Held under the theme “Safeguarding our gains, African women collective action on defining the pathway to achieve Sustainable Development”, the conference is expected to provide a platform to reflect on the role of women’s rights organisations, according to Femnet Executive Director Dinah Musindarwezo.
Further, Ms Musindarwezo said, the meeting would focus on understanding the impact of illicit financial flows on women and girls in Africa
“It is time for Africa and the global community to address gender equality and prioritise the collective voices of women in the continent, to ensure the SDGs are fully implemented,’’ she said.
“We are here to collectively strategise on ensuring this is done and the right budgetary allocation made by our governments to facilitate this realisation” Ms Musindarwezo added of the meeting to be held at Crowne Plaza Hotel.
According to her, gender-related institutions and programmes were the most under-funded, and called on African governments to prioritise their budget allocations.
Organisers say the conference comes at an “opportune’’ time when African countries were starting to put in place mechanisms for monitoring, reviewing and implementing women’s agenda.
They have also singled for discussion what they see as among major threats to women and girls, which include violence, low representation in decision making, doing unpaid work without value and recognition.
“Women and girls are also being denied the right to own and control property; girls being forced to child marriages and FGM, to having women still dying while giving birth from preventable diseases,” said Ms Musindarwezo.
Currently, according to UN Women, one in three women had experienced violence (physical, sexual, psychological and otherwise).
Over 200 million girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) and in other countries, maternal mortality was high, with other forms of gender discrimination still rife.
According to UN Women, women continued to participate in labour markets on an unequal basis with men.
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