African women enjoying increasing participation in politics: AU

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File photo shows the scene of the 32nd African Union (AU) summit of heads of state and government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Feb. 10, 2019. The two-day session was held under the theme of the year 2019, "Refugees, Returnees, and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa." (Xinhua/Li Yan)
File photo shows the scene of the 32nd African Union (AU) summit of heads of state and government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Feb. 10, 2019. The two-day session was held under the theme of the year 2019, “Refugees, Returnees, and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.” (Xinhua/Li Yan)

The African continent has achieved major milestones in women’s participation in political decision making during the past decade, the African Union (AU) Commission has said.

“Throughout the decade, considerable progress was made in translating commitments into measurable action as most African countries took giant steps to elevate the status of women through legal and constitutional means, institutional gender mechanisms as well as creating conducive environments for women to realize their potential,” the AU said in a statement issued over the weekend.

The 55-member pan African bloc revealed that the continent has witnessed an increase in women’s participation in political decision-making processes that saw four AU member states being ranked in the top ten countries in the world with the highest number of women’s representation in Parliament.

The four AU member countries are Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa, and Senegal.

A further 16 African countries and regions have surpassed the 30 percent threshold of women’s representation in national parliaments, it was noted.

According to the AU, this week marked “a watershed moment” in the AU Gender Equality Calendar as the continent celebrates the end of the first African Women’s Decade (AWD) on Grassroots Approach to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 2010-2020, which was adopted in October 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Women now occupy strategic ministries such as defense, economy, finance, and foreign affairs, which were traditionally reserved for men.

“Today, Africa has improved women’s access to modern technologies, infrastructure, and services. Women’s education rate has increased and there is greater access to Technical and Vocational Trainings. Indeed there is a lot that African women can celebrate as concrete achievements of this first African women’s decade,” the AU said.

As Africa enters the new African Women’s Decade on Financial and Economic Inclusion of African Women 2020-2030, AU members have been urged to take appropriate action to fully and efficiently implement their commitments to advance the welfare of women in the continent and consolidate the gains realized during the 2010-2020 African women’s decade.

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