The United Nations Women has said the key to achieving gender equality was investing in and empowering women’s rights organisations.
Delivering a speech at the Regional Consultation with women’s rights organisations organized under the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Country Representative of UNWomen, Ms. Beatrice Eyong lamented that significant changes have not been made since the commencement of 16 Days of Activism 20 years ago.
On gender equality, she said: “Addressing and eradicating it requires more than just reacting to violence when it happens; it mandates proactive and innovative solutions. A key to these solutions lies in investing in and empowering women’s rights organisations. You possess the knowledge, tools, and determination to reshape societies to be safer, more inclusive, and just.”
She added that: “In the first twenty years since the first edition of the 16 days campaign, we witnessed some historic results to end violence against women and girls. Today, while we must pause to appreciate these progress, we must recall that we have neither significantly changed the composition of peace tables, nor the impunity enjoyed by those who commit atrocities against women and girls.
In fact, the 16 days campaign of activism to end Violence against women should not only be a celebration, but a wake-up call in a context of gender equality push back around the world particularly in West and Central Africa.”
She lamented that: “The pushback on gender equality is well-coordinated, well-structured and well-orchestrated. It deliberately seeks to undermine access to the human rights system for women and girls. Effects of ignoring our own commitments to end violence against women would be long-lasting and inter-generational for women, and immediate and drastic for world peace and particularly for West and Africa region.”
She recalled that research has shown that the presence of a strong and autonomous feminist movement is the most critical factor to drive change in ending violence against women and girls in policy making and in transforming social norms and power relations.
He revealed that: “Recognizing the potential of Women’s rights organisation, European Union and UN Women have partnered to develop a new initiative called A.C.T. to end violence against women which focused on strengthening global and regional advocacy, coalition building and transformative feminist action to end violence against women.”
She added that: “We all welcome and appreciate this 3-year initiative that will contribute to leverage regional movements and networks and create mass action and support. It’s a real implementation of the theme of the UNITE Campaign theme this year’s is “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”.
She charged them to work together to make this investment a successful one that will be of benefit to women and girls of our region. Let’s Unite to end Violence against women!”
On her part, the European Union focal point, Mrs. Eseme Stuart said the ACT programme is a new joint commitment between the European Commission and UN Women.
She explained that: “As most of you know, this Action Coalition is a multi stakeholder partnership that mobilises governments, civil society, international organisations and the private sector in the fight against gender-based violence.
“Our commitment to the ACT programme builds on the experience of the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative, that many of you may be familiar with.”