COMFWB Partakes in the 1st Annual Africa Gender Equality Conference
The COMESA Federation of Women in Business took part in High level Round Table Discussions in the 1st Annual Africa Gender Equality Conference (#AGEC2021) which coincided with International Women’s Day under the UN Women’s 2021 International Women’s Day theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.
The first ever Conference took place in Lilongwe, Malawi from the 8th to 10th March 2021 and was broadcasted to the African continent virtually.
The Conference brought together over 3,000 participants from government, civil society, academia, gender equality advocates and activists to celebrate strides made in advancing gender equality and discuss solutions to emerging barriers and challenges, mainly COVID19.
The Conference was a platform for Celebrating progress made towards attaining gender parity, 26 years post-Beijing, championing gender equality, Crowd-sourcing the development of home-grown solutions to addressing existing inequalities exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Building the future by Charting new pathways to attaining gender equal societies that are resilient to future crises.
One of the High-level events, sponsored by COMFWB and the UN Spotlight Initiative, was round-table discussions of policy makers, society influencers and development partners on approaches to collectively create a world free-of-violence for women and girls. The event featured prominent personalities from the UN, European Union, COMFWB, Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Police and Chiefs of traditional leadership.
In the round table discussions, COMFWB CEO Ms. Ruth Negash highlighted that “as implementation institution, COMFWB acts as an intermediary between government/ development partners and women MSMEs in 21 countries to deliver services using national Chapters.”
She further stated that it’s critical to create in all countries a gender inclusive, conducive business environment fostering policy consistency to tackle VaWG at the workplace. “Long lasting behavioral change to eliminate violence against women and girls can be expedited if the young generation learns thru school curriculum and the society is exposed to the message thru continuous Media campaign of denouncing VaWG,” the CEO added.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Hon. Patricia Kaliati stated that the Malawian government as a whole is working with UN Spotlight Initiative and other development partners in building capacity in the society to sensitize and put sustainable systems and programs to eliminate VaWG.
Malawi UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Maria Torres said “Everyone, including men and boys, must play their part in eliminating VaWG. Through the Barbershop Toolkit, men discuss ways of ending VaWG in their communities. The outcomes are encouraging.” The EU Deputy Head of Delegation, Ms. Aurelie Valtat added that EU is committed to fight VaWG thru poverty eradication.
During the conference, it was noted that for the continental economic integration agenda to be achieved, women must ensure that they are equipped with the necessary knowledge about their rights, resources, skills, and opportunities to enable them to start and grow their businesses.
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