Ahead of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), from 15 - 26 March 2021, African countries present a common voice to expand women's participation in public life and decision-making.
UN Women, the African Union Commission (AUC), and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) convened the Africa Virtual Regional Consultation ahead of the 65th session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65) from 22 to 23 February and the Ministerial Segment on 26 February, to create a shared vision on girls' and women's empowerment in the region.
Gender experts, high-level representatives from Regional Economic Commission, the UN System, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders met virtually to discuss and agree on a common position and key messages, which will be presented during CSW65. The 3-day meeting celebrated progress towards women empowerment and leadership on the continent, while highlighting significant challenges - including the COVID-19 pandemic - that threaten African girls' and women's economic, political, and social rights.
"There are no solutions unless women are part of them, as decision-makers and as equal beneficiaries," said Roberta Clarke, Regional Director UN Women East and Southern Africa Regional Office.
During the high-level segment that concluded the African pre-CSW65 consultation, Ministers adopted the following recommendations, as part of the "Africa Common Position":
Integrate continental and regional reforms and policies into national gender strategies;
Eliminate discrimination against women, especially at the political level;
Facilitate women's access to digital tools, particularly in rural areas, to strengthen their participation in community-level decision-making;
Address the patriarchal culture and traditional obstacles that prevent girls and women's full participation in public life;
Implement institutional frameworks planned to strengthen women's full political, electoral, and social participation, within executive boards in firms and political parties, for example;
Promote positive masculinity to prevent sexual violence;
Developing advocacy data related to women's situation;
Fight women's precarity through funding and women-led electoral programmes
"We need to represent the voices of [those without a voice], as they are counting on us women leaders for better conditions," said Maimouna Yacouba, African Union Specialized Technical Committee for Gender Equality
The 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women is also an opportunity for civil society and youth-led organizations to share their concerns with the international community. Due to the current health situation, a majority of the CSW general discussions, ministerial roundtables, interactive dialogues, and side events, will be held online, with country delegations participating remotely.