AU advocates for women’s economic empowerment

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African Union Headquarters In Ethiopia
African Union Headquarters In Ethiopia

The African Union (AU) has emphasized the need to exert concerted efforts to augment the economic empowerment of women so as to end the cycle of violence against women and girls in Africa.

“Financial inclusion is a practical intervention for the realization of gender equality, women empowerment, and addressing the scourge of domestic violence,” the AU said in a statement issued late Friday.

The AU said violence against women and girls is a fundamental human rights violation, a major public health concern, and devastating for individual well-being.

It said given the societal, legal, and normative changes required to create an environment conducive to improving gender equality and women’s financial inclusion, significant involvement of men in strategies and actions on preventing and ending violence against women and girls is fundamental.

The AU, citing a recent joint study by the International Labour Organization and UN Women, said violence against women and girls bears a high economic cost evidenced by, among others, low labor supply, reduced productivity of women, and losses to companies due to costs associated with higher rates of absenteeism, staff turnover and the potential for reputation damage.

The call came ahead of the AU’s upcoming women empowerment-themed continental gathering, slated to be held on Oct. 30-31 in Moroni, the capital of Comoros.

The AU said the Women Leaders’ Consultation on Positive Masculinity will push for a radical shift in strategies and efforts employed to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Convened under the theme “Driving Commitments Towards Women’s Economic Empowerment and Ending Violence Against Women and Girls,” the meeting will, among others, explore innovative and practical solutions to accelerate the promising initiatives offering women financing and credit solutions, money transfers, food aid, and support for women’s groups and networks of female entrepreneurs.

One of the aspirations of the AU’s 50-year continental development blueprint, Agenda 2063, envisaged creating an Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children.

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