Mozambique Making Progress in Women's Empowerment

Maputo — The Mozambican Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Nyeleti Mondlane, on Saturday declared that the country is continuing to make progress in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

In a message to mark Pan-African Women's Day, Mondlane cited the increased entry of girls into all the country's sub-systems of education, thanks to the expansion of the school network, and other initiatives to keep girls at school rather than dropping out.

"The proportion of girls in all the sub-systems is ever larger. It has reached 48 per cent in primary education", said Mondlane. Contributing towards this success was the abolition of primary school entrance fees, and the free distribution of school textbooks.

In Mozambique, the day was celebrated under the theme "Women's Empowerment for a more Egalitarian Africa", for the government says it is aware that the targets set for the Decade of African Women can only be reached with the empowerment and participation of both women and men in all areas of activity.

Mondlane stressed that the government is continuing to expand access to sexual and reproductive health progammes, and promotes screening for breast and cervical cancer, among other initiatives centred on improving the quality of life of Mozambican communities.

She added that, despite the progress Mozambican women have made, gender inequality remains a reality, as does violence against women and girls.

"The path is long and complex", said Mondlane, "but we are sure that, with the determination and commitment of all, we can attain our goal of building an Africa free of violence, discrimination and child marriages, where women and men can enjoy the same rights and the same opportunities".

In the economic area, the Minister stressed the increasing number of women with access to formal employment, to professions previously regarded as masculine domains, and to productive resources, thus allowing the creation of income to sustain their families.

She encouraged all strata of Mozambican society to work together for the empowerment of women and girls, and for solidarity with women victims of violence, as well as those affected by natural disasters.

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