As the global community marks the International Women’s Day, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has called for sober reflection on factors mitigating against the attainment of gender equality.
President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, in a statement issued in Abuja, hailed women for their role in making the world a better place and for their immense contribution to global peace, security, and development in all spheres of human endeavour.
Brou noted that the 2020 event coincided with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, including the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the UN Women.
He also noted that the 2020 International Women’s Day was also being celebrated against the backdrop of three other major commitments made at the regional, continental and global levels which are ECOWAS Vision 2020, the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda.
“These commitments testify to the global consensus on the value that gender equality and women’s empowerment bring to bear on the social, economic and political development of society.
“Today is therefore a day for sober reflections on the factors that militate against the attainment of gender equality and women’s empowerment at all levels of society, including the challenges that continue to confront women and girls, notably poverty, illiteracy, marginalisation, discrimination, various forms of violence, HIV/AIDS and harmful practices such as female genital mutilations and negative widowhood rights, to mention a few. These factors continue to place many women at the bottom of the development ladder, thereby perpetuating and deepening existing gender disparities, and thus, undermining the development of our countries and our community,” Brou said.
Brou added that the global community is challenged this year to step up efforts towards the creation of a world of equal opportunities that made it possible to unlock the potentials inherent in all individuals to contribute to the development of their communities and to benefit equitably from the gains of development.
He further said the ECOWAS Commission placed the quest for gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of its priorities.
“Through the adoption of the Supplementary Act on Equality of Rights between women and men for sustainable development in the ECOWAS region, as well as several action plans and programmes on the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, the ECOWAS Commission has amply demonstrated its commitment to transform West Africa into a society in which men and women have equal opportunities to participate, decide, control and benefit from all development initiatives,” Brou also said.