The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has tasked African women to be at the heart of rebuilding countries’ economies, values and future, just as she identified women as born managers of resources.
The minister who spoke virtually at the ongoing African Women Conference (AWC) held in Kigali, Rwanda, also asserted that women were mostly affected at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic as they have the core responsibility of ensuring the wellbeing of members of their homes and communities.
Aliyu lamented the continuous underrepresentation of women in the public space, in both elective and political appointments, has been the single-most-important factor hampering the availability of economic opportunities.
According to her; “In this conference, therefore, we must work to ensure women are at the forefront of leading the economic growth Africa desires, be part of policymaking and implementation, and women should work towards the agenda of gender and social inclusion policy to protect women and female children in our various countries.
“The development and growth of a nation would only be achievable when women are equal partners in growth with men. The current reality is that in most African countries, women have relatively weak socioeconomic status and their successful empowerment must necessarily connect and feed their labour into the flow of economic development.
“Asides from the negative impact on their economic status, women also have had to grapple with all forms of Gender-Based Violence: for illustration, increased domestic abuse, sexual harassment, rape, amongst others, were reported during the lockdown”.
The minister argued that given the population and innate potentials of women in contributing to the political and socio-economic development of any country, it behoves on the state to map out workable strategies that would ensure the effective empowerment of women at all levels, noting that doing so, would enable the womenfolk to maximize their potentialities and further help consolidate the gains that contemporary democratic opening provides especially in the post-COVID-19 era.
This year’s African Women Conference has the theme: “Women’s Participation in Building An Inclusive and Sustainable Post COVID-19 Economy”.