IWD:ECOWAS Assures On Improving Female Participation In Governance, Women’s Safety

By Kemi Yesufu

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi-Brou has assured of the commitment of the regional body to improving the participation of women in politics and governance, as well as sustaining the push to drastically reduce Sex and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

Kassi-Brou in his message to mark the International Women’s Day 2021 celebrated the countless achievements of women across West Africa, saying, the day also presented the opportunity to discuss a better future for the women folk.

The theme of the 2021 IWD is, “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi-Brou

“Typically, the 8 March celebration is an opportunity to highlight the economic as well as social and political achievements of women. It is an opportunity to take stock of the progress made and the challenges still facing women in relation to the recognition and protection of their rights, and further take stock of the pioneer struggles of preceding years for women’s equality, and social, economic, and political rights.

“Even today, 8 March 2021, despite the precarious health situation across

the globe, women are and always will be celebrated. Indeed, we will always need to celebrate them as a show of solidarity and commitment to ensuring that they exercise equal rights as men”, the statement read.

“As is the custom, ECOWAS adopts the global theme of the United Nations in celebration of the IWD. The theme of the 2021 IWD, “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, is consistent with the priority theme chosen by the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), which is the UN annual session for the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment. A forum that brings together the governments, civil society organisations, and technical and financial partners involved in gender-related matters.

“The theme of the 65th CSW “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”, requires of us a keen and holistic analysis in a bid to eliminate the numerous social constraints, barriers and norms which hinder women’s participation in public life”, the statement furher read.

Read full message below:

 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY CELEBRATION 2021

“WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”

MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY

BY

H.E. MR JEAN-CLAUDE KASSI BROU

PRESIDENT OF THE ECOWAS COMMISSION

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. On this notable date, 8 March 2021, the whole world celebrates the International Women’s Day. I would like to pay tribute, on behalf of ECOWAS, to women all over the world and West Africa in particular, who, this

past year, braved the consequences of an unprecedented health crisis

necessitated by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

2. Special tribute goes to the female staff of ECOWAS who, day after day,

continue to contribute significantly to our Institution’s work for the development of the sub region.

3. Typically, the 8 March celebration is an opportunity to highlight the economic as well as social and political achievements of women. It is an opportunity to take stock of the progress made and the challenges still facing women in relation to the recognition and protection of their rights,

and further take stock of the pioneer struggles of preceding years for

women’s equality, and social, economic, and political rights.

4. Even today, 8 March 2021, despite the precarious health situation across

the globe, women are and always will be celebrated. Indeed, we will always need to celebrate them as a show of solidarity and commitment to

ensuring that they exercise equal rights as men.

5. As is the custom, ECOWAS adopts the global theme of the United Nations

in celebration of the IWD. The theme of the 2021 IWD, “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, is consistent with

the priority theme chosen by the 65th Session of the Commission on the

Status of Women (CSW65), which is the UN annual session for the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment. A forum that

brings together the governments, civil society organisations, and technical and financial partners involved in gender-related matters.

6. The theme of the 65th CSW “Women’s full and effective participation and

decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for

achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and

girls”, requires of us a keen and holistic analysis in a bid to eliminate the

numerous social constraints, barriers and norms which hinder women’s

participation in public life.

7. The theme prompts us to reflect even further on the security and health

challenges in our region, with respect to the Ebola Virus Disease and the

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, food insecurity and extremism, among

others.

8. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 health crisis, several active women in

the economy, particularly the informal sector, were hard-hit by the halt

in certain economic activities, disruptions in the processing and distribution of agricultural products, reduction in household income, not forgetting the reduction in opportunities for the most vulnerable households.

9. Regarding women in leadership and positions of authority, inadequate

resources and the feminisation of poverty hamper women’s involvement in the leadership roles of political parties or in society. Moreover,

harmful social and cultural norms and practices such as unequal access

to education, training, financial resources, and healthcare equally hamper the development and empowerment of the West African woman.

10. Regarding gender-based violence, there has been a resurgence of the

phenomenon despite the existing legal arsenal in our respective Member

States. This trend therefore presents the critical need to strengthen, on

the one hand, awareness and impunity, and on the other hand, the holistic care of victims of moral, physical and economic violence. Unfortunately, the trend is not unconnected to the fallout of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on the life of women.

11. Nevertheless, the contribution of women in the fight against this pandemic demands reflection, bearing in mind the essential role of women

in our societies when it comes to caring for the sick, providing family

food security and supervising the education of children.

12. I avail myself of this opportunity to recall the numerous initiatives of the

ECOWAS Commission for women empowerment and the fight against

gender inequality. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Commission

has developed an “ECOWAS action plan for a gender approach to the

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic”, which comprises several strategic focus areas including a recovery plan for women entrepreneurs.

13. This 8 March women’s day is therefore an opportunity to take stock of

all our initiatives aimed at promoting women’s rights and consolidate

achievements for an even more equal West Africa in terms of the rights

and duty of each citizen.

14. Now more than ever before, we feel duty-bound to celebrate women

given the obvious fact that sustainable development, social and political

stability, and economic growth cannot be attained when a section of the

population is marginalised.

15. We will therefore continue to strive towards greater access to training,

decent and productive employment, and social protection. We will help

to ensure access to loans, property, inheritance, natural resources, and

the establishment of gender sensitive frameworks.

16. We will equally help to ensure full and effective participation of women

in decision-making, public life, positions of authority, and finally maintain zero-tolerance for gender-based violence while working towards

the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls within

the ECOWAS region.

17. Based on this message of hope and a firm belief, I, on behalf of the ECOWAS Institutions, wish all the women of our Institutions and women

across the Member States a Happy Celebration.

I thank you and wish everyone of you a Happy International Women’s Day,

2021.

Long live the advancement of women’s rights!

Long live the ECOWAS of People!

COVID-19 TIPS

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