Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt – AWEPA supported the participation of a number of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Pan-African Parliament’s 9th Women’s Conference, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 13 and 14 October 2016.
The conference brought together women parliamentarians from across Africa, Ministers in charge of gender issues, representatives of African Union organs, civil society organisations, women entrepreneurs and development partners.
Together, the participants explored the theme “promoting women’s access to political decision making and leadership positions” and aimed to provide a response to the issue of gender inequality.
The discussions provided an opportunity to develop strategies to ensure that women in Africa have equal access to a power structures and decision-making, and are able to positively influence development in the continent.
In order to achieve this, the participants aimed to:
- Share experiences on effective ways of enabling women’s access to political and economic decision making positions;
- Understand the critical roles of Parliamentarians and Civil Society organisations in promoting the domestication and implementation of gender related protocols and policies at the national level;
- Develop and adopt required best practices for the implementation of the agreed gender equality policy by the African Union;
- Establish appropriate framework for tracking the level of women participation in political decision-making and leadership positions at national, regional and continental levels;
A number of resolutions and recommendations on these themes were adopted at the end of the conference. As a result, it is expected that best practices will be developed to ensure the implementation of the decisions taken on the African Union gender equality policy, and mechanisms will be put in place to measure progress. In addition, it is hoped that the conference will lead to the development of communication strategies to effectively reach out to citizens.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, women account for only 22.8% of members in all national parliaments and 23.1% of members in national parliaments. Yet, the equal participation of women in leadership and decision-making processes is essential to ensure effective policy making which influences the quality of life of all sectors of society.
With this in mind, the African Union Gender policy framework strives for an African society in which women and men are able to realise their full potential and participate as equal partners. The realisation of this vision stresses the need to create a conducive environment, characterised by equal partnership in decision-making for the development of the African continent.