Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - African countries, which have not ratified the various African Union protocols regarding gender and the rights of women, should urgently do so to preserve gender equality and equal access to education for women and girls.
The Alliances for Africa, a Nigeria-based civil society organisation, said on Tuesday that this year’s 100th anniversary celebration of the International Women’s Day, was also critical because it marked the start of the AU Decade of Women (2010-2020).
This year’s celebration is focusing on gender equality, equal access to education and decent work for women and girls. The Alliances for Africa said it was supporting the theme for 2011 by raising awareness on the need to secure education and work.
“This period marks part of the first year of the Decade of Women. Alliances for Africa uses this opportunity to call on African governments who have not ratified the African women protocol -- protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of women in Africa -- to ratify it,” the organisation said in a statement, sent to PANA.
The Alliance for Africa is urging all State parties, including Nigeria, to domesticate the women’s rights protocol and implement the provisions of the AU Solemn Declaration on gender equality in Africa, and the AU Gender policy.
African women and girls are facing the prospect of diminishing job opportunities as a result of the recent economic recession, which has led to high costs of living and job-cuts, affecting all categories of workers, including women.
African countries like many other countries of the world have experienced an economic recession leading to pay cuts, loss of jobs and increase in the cost of living.
This year, the women in West Africa had reason to celebrate. The ECOWAS court in November 2010 ordered the Nigerian government to provide free and compulsory basic education to every Nigerian child.
Iheoma Obibi, the Executive Director of Alliances for Africa, welcomed the decision, saying, “Our government should realise that access to education at the primary level for all children regardless of sex and origin secures the right of all children particularly girls for education and should urgently implement the ECOWAS court decision.”
The organisation also hailed the provisions of the African Women Protocol, recalling that it was clear that in taking decisions regarding employment, remuneration and dismissal from employment, the process must be based on equal treatment and provision of equal opportunities.
The Protocol provides that African governments guarantee equal opportunity and access to education and training.
The law also demands governments promote education and training for women at all levels and in all disciplines, particularly in the fields of science and technology.
-0- PANA AO/MA 8March2011