By Justin Mahlahla
The Africa Regional Consultations ahead of the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-65) kicked off today in Ethiopia.
The Women, Gender and Development Directorate Head of Gender Policy and Development Division, Dr. Tapiwa Uchizi Nyasulu Rweyemamu opened the Experts Segment, with calls for a decisive end to all forms of violence against women.
“We have set out to convene the Pre-#CSW65 Africa consultations to ensure that our common messages resonate with the Aspirations and commitments in Agenda 2063 & other frameworks for the full realization of women’s leadership, an end to all forms of violence & GEWE broadly,” said Dr. Rweyemamu.
She added, “There is ample evidence to show the limited recognition of women’s leadership & its effects on African economies & political governance. This uneven progress requires unprecedented commitment to harness women’s potential in economic, political, social & environmental affairs.”
“I, therefore, would like to stress the centrality of women’s leadership in the development, peace and integration efforts of our countries if we have to make an impact that is lasting and bring about genuine equality for women and men in our societies and communities.
“Given the global challenges presented by COVID-19, the resurgence of Ebola, conflicts, climate change, forced migration & internal displacement of people, it is critical the untapped leadership skills & potential of women & girls are effectively & fully utilized & put to good use,” Dr Rweyemamu said.
“Throughout the years, as we have met at pre-CSW high-level meetings, we have noticed how speaking with one voice has made Africa-specific issues more visible & how we have meaningfully contributed to the UN SG global report,” said Dr Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director, African Centre for Gender and Social Development, UN Economic Commission for Africa.
She said although women make up about 50% of African population, they remain largely underrepresented in leadership roles across financial, investment & entrepreneurial markets.
“As a result of these longstanding gender gaps, the continent loses over 20% of its GDP every year,” she added.
The conference will deliberate on the Common African Position that will be tabled at the 65th Commission on the Status of Women.
It runs from the 22nd to the 26th of Feb 2021 and precedes the African Ministers of Gender and Women’s Affairs summit.