10 May 2013
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African Development Bank (Abidjan)

AfDB Gender Forum - Changing the State of Gender Equality in Africa

press release

The African Development Bank is organizing on 10 May, 2013 in Tunis the first edition of the "AfDB Gender Forum" to leverage the Bank's advocacy on Gender Equality. The Forum will provide the opportunity for policy makers and development actors to exchange views on crucial steps and innovative approaches that need to be explored to transform the state of gender equality on the continent.

The forum will include three panels:

Panel 1: Promoting Sustainable Reforms for Improved Gender Equality in Africa

While Africa has been growing, economic performance has been mixed and the benefits not evenly distributed. Disparities in employment, education, political participation, and legal rights severely constrain women in their ability to contribute to Africa's development growth and development and to benefit from that growth. The disparities are exacerbated by weak institutional structures in regional member countries particularly among the institutions that are supposed to promote gender equality.

This session will highlight the importance of three major areas: (i) the need to elaborate sustainable policies to translate the international commitments into laws and actions; (ii) the necessity to identify effective incentives for successful implementation of sustainable reforms, and, (iii) the effectiveness of governments and gender machineries to assume their roles and serve the purpose for which they are created.

Panel 2: Advancing the legal status of women

Gender equality and women's rights have been at the core of the political and societal transformation agenda for more than a decade. Revised Constitutions, which enshrine equality between men and women on issues such as the law of heritage, land distribution and condemn discrimination on the basis of sex and offer legal basis for affirmative actions are common on the continent.

This session will highlight the importance of obstacles experienced in advancing the legal status of women and their property rights on the continent, and highlight the missed opportunities this situation creates. It will also address the need of finding innovative approaches to harmonize, if appropriate, in a forward-looking manner, traditional customary and civil laws with international commitments. The role of the private companies in promoting such approaches for the advancement of gender equality will be highlighted and the engagement of the civil society in this endeavor will be discussed.

Panel 3: Highlights of Good Practices

Countries like Morocco Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, among others have made significant progress ion the advancement of gender equality. Many private companies also and civil society organizations have developed good practices in closing gender gaps and promoting gender friendly.

This session will focus on good experiences in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in specific situations, at country level and in a particular area, in private companies, in international development institutions, in local communities or/and in various networks and foundations. Lessons learned from these examples will enlighten on the most appropriate process of changing the state of gender equality.

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