Ethiopia: Women Leaders Forum Kicks Off in Addis Ababa

The Second Women Leaders Forum for Africa's Transformation kicked off at the African Union Headquarters today.

The forum aims to enhance women's contributions in building and sustaining peace, security and political processes for sustainable economic and social transformation towards the realization of Africa Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Speaking at the opening of the forum, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) would support the African Union Commission for the implementation of the agendas.

He added that the AWLN would also help to enhance the role of women in the implementation of AU Roadmap on Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020.

According to him, the active participation of women is crucial for socio-economic and political development of this great continent since they are agents of change in conflict prevention activities.

Ethiopia's Permanent Representative to the African Union, Ambassador Woinshet Tadesse said Ethiopia has made significant change in promoting gender equality and empowerment of women through the efforts made by the government.

She stated that the country has recently adopted National Women Development and Change Strategy and Package to guide the implementation of the different policies towards the achievement of gender equality and empowerment.

Woinshet said women's representation in regional and district councils has reached 40.2 and 50 percent respectively. "Currently, we also have a newly elected Speaker of the House of People's Representatives."

Ethiopia women also play a pivotal role in peacekeeping missions at international and regional levels, she said, adding that "There are more than 800 women under the UN and AU peacekeeping missions at the contingent and military observer status."

According to her, Ethiopia has created an enabling and encouraging environment for the proliferation of grassroots associations and local community structures, including women development arm and women's associations to enhance the participation and leadership role of urban and rural women.

The three-day forum was held under the theme: "Women Working Together for the Africa We Want: From Commitment to Action."

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