Women Members of Parliament and civil society groups have called for the inclusion of women in peace processes to achieve sustainable stability in Africa.
A two-day Pan African Parliament Conference on women’s rights on Tuesday and Wednesday adopted resolutions centering on women and children most affected by conflicts and displacement.
Participants included African women legislators and persons involved in work and advocacy in the areas of women and gender.
Uganda was represented by Anifa Kawooya (Sembabule district), Jacquiline Amongin (Ngora district), Chairperson Uganda Women Parliamentarians, Hon. Pamela Kamugo (Budaka district), Robina Rwakoojo (Gomba) and Justine Khainza (Bududa district).
Participants noted that women bear the burden of poverty, owing to limited access to decision making processes, finance, education, health and means of production.
The conference provides an avenue for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of women’s issues; revisiting progress made by the PAP in the promotion of gender mainstreaming; the economic advancement of women on the continent; and a discussion on the planning, implementation and monitoring of gender focused programmes, policies and activities of the African Union and PAP.
Besides calling for gender inclusion, participants also appealed to Member States to pursue national reconciliation through the African Peace and Security Architecture, to strengthen Africa’s peacekeeping and enforcement capabilities and collaboration with the United Nations system.
Anifa Kawooya called on fellow legislators to gain confidence to be able to lobby their male colleagues and government to see that issues affecting women are passed in Parliament.
“We lack skills and we are not confident and due to our low numbers we need to lobby governments to push our issues through Parliament,” said Ms. Kawoya.
Recommendations on the African Women’s Decade, 2010 – 2020, ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement were adopted.
Other recommendations included: urging member states to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and call upon member states to put in place deliberate programmes to empower women to actively participate in the free trade and to opt for gender responsive policies to improve inclusiveness;
They also called on member states to ensure access to trade information, services, finance, ICT and market opportunities ask parliamentarians to monitor the negotiations, the implementation and impact of the AfCTA with a particular focus on the participation of women and to build the capacity of women among others.