IWD: Different Strategies, Resolutions Are In Place To Ensure Gender Equality, Women Empowerment – Hon. Dr. Zainab Gimba

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 …..Calls For Transformative Policies Aimed At Increasing Women MPs

….Commends African Govt That have ensure increase of number of women MPs

By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, African Region, Hon Dr. Zainab Gimba has said that different Strategies and resolutions have been put in place to ensure that gender equality and women empowerment is achieved across all sectors. 

Hon. Dr. Zainab also called for transformative but irreversible policies aimed at increasing the number of women MPs in African region and commended African countries that have ensured increase of number of women MPS.

She made the call at the occasion of the 2020 International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration in Abuja.

According to her, “It is worth noting that different Strategies and resolutions have been put in place to ensure that gender equality and women empowerment is achieved across all sectors   i.e.    In   economic,   social,   political   and   in   decision   making   bodies, notably, CPA Africa Region has also made an important step towards the increase of women MPs in National Parliaments.

“Several milestones   on   Gender   Equality   and   Women   Empowerment   at   Global,   Regional   and National levels have been achieved. They include the following: Globally   reaching     20   years   of   United   Nations   Security   Council   Resolution (UNSCR No. 1325) on Women, Peace and Security (2000) which links the issue of gender equality with peace and security; 10th Anniversary of UN Women which is dedicated to realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women; and Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals with specific Goal   No.  5   on Gender Equality, at Regional level, among many milestones, is the AU Strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for the period of 2018-2028 which sets forth a plan to realize six aspirations of the African Unions Agenda 2063, she said.

The Chairperson  of Commonwealth  Women Parliamentarians noted that transformative policies leading to accelerated and irreversible change on a broad scale remain necessary. “Women continue to be more likely than men to live   in   extreme   poverty;   they   also   remain   significantly   underrepresented   in decision making roles and leadership roles across all sectors, she said.

“In addition, women and girls continue to experience multiple forms of discrimination based on age, class,   ethnicity   and   race.   In   this   regard,   we   as   CWP   through   our   National parliaments have to ensure that our Governments maintain the commitments to gender equality such as obligations under convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Agenda 2030   and Agenda 2063.

“Moreover, while we acknowledge the importance of the increase of women in   decision   making   bodies   through   affirmative   actions,   we   should   also   look beyond descriptive representation, where progress should be made on substantive representation so as to be able to translate the gains of the increase into changing status   and   lives   of   women   at   large.

Hon. Dr. Zainab while Commending African governments that have ensured increase of number of women MPs said:  

 “I   commend   the   Governments   of   those Parliaments which have seen the increase of number of women MPs which is contributed by, among other issues, gender quotas/affirmative action policies in their countries. This should be encouraged to other countries to adopt the same.

“Evidently, we have witnessed the number of women in some Parliaments reaching the Beijing target of at least 30 percent. These include Parliaments of Rwanda (61.2%), South Africa (46.2%), Namibia (42.7%), Mozambique (41.2%), Tanzania (36.9%) and Uganda (34.8%).

“We acknowledge that, the number of women MPs in CPA Africa Region has increased from 25.75 percent in 2015 to 27.5 percent in 2020 which is slightly above the global percentage of 24.5 percent. Statistics in Nigeria reflect a slight increase in the number of women in parliament following election tribunal victories arising from 2019 election petitions. In the Federal House of representatives, the number of women Members of Parliament increased to 13 while the Senate recorded the 8th female senator. This sounds to be a small victory but it is a big gain for the women   of   Nigeria, she noted.  

She therefore bemoaned countries whose women Parliaments are even lower than 20 percent, like Botswana (10.77%), Eswatini (9.59%), Ghana (13.09%), Nigeria (3.43%),   Sierra  Leone   (12.33%)   and   Zambia   (16.77%).

She therefore urged all CWP Branches in Africa Region to continue striving for girls and women rights by pushing for their social, economic, cultural and political achievements.

“As   we   mark   the   25th  anniversary   of   the   Beijing Declaration  and  Platform  for  Action,   we  must  realize  that  ‘gender  equality  is achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors   of  society,   including   economic   participation   and   decision-making,   and when different behaviors, aspirations of women and men are equally valued and favoured’  so   on this   day, let’s  celebrate  what  has been  achieved  so  far while continuing to encourage more efforts towards transformative policies leading to gender equality on a broad scale, she emphasized.

 Let everyone, in their capacity, talk, think and act equally, this will create a ripple effect that benefits everyone, Hon Dr Zainab added.

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