AU, civil society assess gender equality gains

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The 9th preliminary meeting on Africa's gender integration programme opened here Wednesday with civil society organisations and African Union (AU) officials reaffirming their resolve to achieve parity for both sexes.
The Union's heads of state and government, at a summit in 2004, adopted a solemn declaration on gender equality in Africa, followed by the launch at the AU summit in Banjul, Gambian, in June 2006, of "gender, my agenda" campaign by women organisations.
Officials said the two-day meeting initiated by the African Women Solidarity (FAS) organisation will also take stock of the progress and obstacles in the gender equality campaign.
"Our objective is to make the AU become a community in which gender equality is the standard value," AU's gender, women and development interim director, Yetunde Teriba, told PANA Wednesday, adding that there are many challenges since several states have not yet ratified the Declaration.
She revealed that her department has adopted a five-year programme on the integration of the gender aspects into its various programmes.
Speaker of the AU Parliament Gertrude Mongella said she was resolutely committed to the fight for the emancipation of women in the continent.
She praised the work being done by FAS, which "has carried out countless advocacy activities," adding that women must be "enthusiastic, but thoughtful" for them to achieve better lives.
She urged women who have served at various AU organisations, courtesy of respective organisations, to return the favour by getting involved in gender advocacy campaigns.
"It is the first time that the states submit a report on the (gender) issue, which is a step forward," said FAS chairperson Bineta Diop, adding that a lot more needs to be done to reduce maternal mortality rates and poverty in Africa.

24 january 2007 21:42:00

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