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Sunday, July 5, 2009

African Women Appeal to Leaders on Gender Issues at African Union Summit

Leading up to the AU Summit, advocates for women's rights stressed the necessity of implementing existing protocols on gender equality on the continent. In a two-day pre-summit on women, the AU Agricultural Commissioner Rhoda Peace Tumuslime delivered a report on the status of gender equality on the continent.

Tumuslime discussed some aspects of the history of women's status in Africa and stressed the necessity of the AU to effectively address these issues with specific reference to agricultural production and food security. In many African countries women are responsible for the production of 80% or more of the food supply, yet women's decision-making authority falls far short of their overall economic contribution to society.

"The women have always been there and they starve in order to feed their husbands. They starve in order to feed their children, and they starve in order to look after the sick, to look out for the HIV people in the hospitals. Without women, I don't think, we would be anywhere," Tumuslime stated in her address. (VOA, June 18)

The AU Agricultural Commissioner also examined why the existing initiatives aimed at development have not done nearly enough to guarantee women's equality. "We need to look at approaches that have been used in the past in trying to improve the status of rural women, build on what has worked and change strategies that have not worked." (VOA, June 18)

link: Pan-African News Wire: African Union Summit Faces Challenges on Gender Equality


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