Statement on International Women’s Day, 2020
The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) joins the international community to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8th March, 2020.
As a global day set aside by the international community to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements, the IWD is not only a day to celebrate women and advances made towards gender equality but also a day to reflect on the challenges that hamper women’s empowerment and development. It is also a time to reiterate the call to action to accelerate the attainment of gender equality and parity through diverse actions with a view to identifying intervention strategies.
Women and girls represent half of the world’s population yet they continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership. We must ensure that women’s full and effective participation and access to equal opportunities for meaningful leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life exists and are strengthened. A stop must be put to all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere.
The attainment of gender equality which is goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is not only a fundamental human rights but a pre-requisite for the existence of a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls would remain a mere dream for many women and girls until they are able to be actively and collectively participate in issues that affect their lives and wellbeing as we endeavor to leave no one behind.
At the regional level, Article 2 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa speaks directly to the issue of gender equality and calls on State Parties to ‘combat all forms of discrimination against women through appropriate legislative, institutional and other measures…..’.
Consequently, effective implementation, monitoring and enforcement of this and other Articles of the Protocol are essential for the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The lack of implementation and enforcement of such paper rights remains a major hurdle in the attainment of gender equality.
Despite some progress being made in other areas, there remains a lot of challenges for the attainment of gender equality. The theme encourages each one of us to work towards gender equality through individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets which can have an impact on larger society.
The campaign theme for this year ‘Each for Equal’ is very apt. While the promotion and protection of women’s human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women remains a collective responsibility, each and every hand must be on deck. I hereby challenge ourselves – men, women, boy, girl, young and old – to walk the talk and accelerate the attainment of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Together, we can make change happen and each one can help to create a gender equal world.
ACDHRS wishes one and all, a happy International Women’s Day.