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Author Topic: African Women Need Voice in Politics to Achieve Equality- Says United Nations  (Read 675 times)

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Offline guruslodge

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The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women says gender equality in Africa can be achieved only if women and girls — especially those in rural areas — have a voice in politics and economic planning.

That conclusion came out of the commission's annual meeting in New York this week. Lopa Banerjee, director of the U.N. Women's Civil Society Division, said the commission has "irrefutable evidence" that women and girls in rural areas will be left behind unless government policy failures are addressed.

"We are putting the laser light on the rights of women and girls who live in rural areas whose rights and ability to exercise their full potential has been held back," Banerjee told VOA's South Sudan in Focus.

Esther Mwaura-Muiru, founder of the nonprofit GROOTS (Grassroots Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood) Kenya, who spoke at this year's session, said one key issue is unpaid child care and other work that African women and girls routinely provide.

We are not saying [they must] be paid, but there must be investment for them to be able to engage with government," Mwaura-Muiru told South Sudan in Focus.

Banerjee said the level of deprivation that women and girls in rural areas face has existed for decades, to a point where it becomes a vicious cycle.

"If you think about a young girl who is born into a poor household in a deep rural community, by the time that she is able to work she is already taking care of other siblings" and "perhaps already involved in domestic work," Banerjee said.

Women make up 50 percent of Africa's population, but 80 percent of them live in rural areas. More than half of rural women are employed in the agriculture sector, which U.N. Women describes as the backbone of African economies.


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