International Women’s Day: African Union set to launch the “What African Women Want” Campaign - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Monday, March 7, 2022

International Women’s Day: African Union set to launch the “What African Women Want” Campaign

Africa has progressive normative frameworks that guarantee gender equality in social, economic and political affairs. Through years of activism and legal reforms, many countries are seeing progress in terms of women’s rights and status in societies. However, the continent still lags behind in realising the goals set in various continental legal frameworks including the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child resulting in the rights of women and girls not being upheld and their full contribution to society being hampered by amongst others, underlying structural inequalities that perpetuate harmful cultural practices, negative social norms and lack of bodily autonomy.

As part of the efforts to turn the tide, the African Union is set to launch a campaign to rally more action to the commitments on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. The “What African Women Want” campaign will be launched on International Women’s Day on 8th March 2022, to popularise and advocate for the speedy and full implementation of the African Union Strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (2018-2028); as well as advocate for the implementation of programmes earmarked as part of the African Women’s Decade of Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion (2020-2030); at the national, regional, continental and global levels for women to realise, enjoy and benefit from their rights and expand the spaces for empowerment.

In recent years, progress has been recorded as African governments, public and private institutions implement gender-responsive actions and as African women through resilience and commitment, advance their quest to break the societal barriers and glass ceiling. In a push to make gender issues more visible, the “What African Women Want” Campaign seeks to highlight key issues still faced by women in their pursuit of parity and equity and provides actionable recommendations to address the existing and emerging challenges.

The campaign aligns to Aspiration six of Agenda 2063 which advocates for “An Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children”. This calls for the empowerment of African women in all spheres, with equal social, political and economic rights.

“What African Women Want” campaign advocates for, among others;

·    A conceptual shift from the practical to the strategic needs of women; a Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment and Women’s Rights framework.

·            Ending child marriages, gender violence and harmful traditional practices.

·   Eradicating preventable maternal mortality, HIV and AIDS and ensuring affordable, accessible, youth friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights services.

·    Ensuring women’s equal access to productive resources, including mining, land, credit, and ICTs, and training in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

·      Guaranteeing equal pay for work of equal value; recognising and rewarding the unpaid work of women.

·          Enhancing women’s effective participation in decision-making in and through public and private institutions, the media and new media.

·          Engaging men, boys and the youth in the struggle for gender equality.

·      Building strong Gender Management Systems including Gender Responsive Budgeting at all levels.

The campaign is also an opportunity for people across the continent and in the diaspora to engage and share success stories, testimonials or best practices on what has worked and projects that are advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. Such contributions can be shared as an article or video and all materials will be vetted to establish suitability for posting on AU platforms.

To learn more about the #WhatAfricanWomenWant campaign and what the African Union is doing to realise gender equality and women’s empowerment on the continent, visit -

Follow and join the discussion using the hashtag #WhatAfricanWomenWant, and rally for more action.

About the Women, Gender and Youth Directorate.

The Women, Gender and Youth Directorate of the African Union Commission is responsible for leading, guiding, defending and coordinating the AU's efforts on gender equality and development and promoting women and youth empowerment.

Learn More about the African Unions’ strategies and guiding legal instruments that focus on the attainment of gender equality and women's empowerment in all spheres of life in Africa including developing and implementing policies and programmes that address issues related to women’s and girls’ rights, advocate for their protection and prohibit violence and harmful practices and other social norms that disempower women and girls. These include, the AU Strategy for Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Source: Directorate of Information and Communication, African Union Commission

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