Section A – Key Actions for Accelerating the Implementation of the BPFA
It is imperative that urgent steps be taken to enhance the gender-analytic capacity of macroeconomists at all levels and in all institutions so as to redefine concepts, approaches and methodology that underpin the generation and collection of data. This includes the development of technical capacity and tools for further advancing the inclusion of women’s unpaid work into the systems of national accounts. There is a need to mainstream gender analysis into economics and involve gender experts in the formulation of macroeconomic policies, so that economic policies support women’s paid activities in the subsistence and the care economies. Gender-aware social security and pension systems should be developed and extended to all women. In order to improve women’s position in the labour market, national programmes creating opportunities for decent jobs and working conditions for women and men must be developed and implemented.
Measures to mainstream gender concerns into poverty reduction strategies should include gender analysis of macroeconomic policies. This would expose differential impacts of poverty on women and men and identify constraints on poverty eradication. Gender equality principles must be incorporated into all budgeting to ensure equitable resource allocation. Processes in the development of poverty reduction plans should be consultative, gender-sensitive and inclusive. Indicators for monitoring the impact of poverty reduction programmes and measures and the MDG target on poverty should be engendered. In the area of globalization, there should be a programme of training for women.
Education and Training
To address gender imbalances in education and training, countries should institute and strengthen affirmative action measures including scholarships at all levels for female students; distance and non-formal education and literacy programmes for women; innovative and aggressive strategies to redress the under-representation of women and girls in the sciences, mathematics and technology-related disciplines and careers, including the promotion of science among children in general and young girls in particular. Women’s access to professional training should also be strengthened. In addition, the main financial partners of African education systems should show their firm commitment to the female population in their interventionist policies.
In order to reach MDG 6 and ICPD targets on reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, Governments in collaboration with parliaments, NGOs and the private sector must provide accessible sexual and reproductive health care services and education for women and girls in accordance with the legislation in force in each country. Preventive interventions to curb the spread of malaria, cardiovascular diseases, cancer that affect women, as well as HIV/AIDs and TB particularly among women and girls, should be supported. Processes and programmes to achieve the MDG target of reducing child mortality should also be engendered.
Governance, power and decision-making
. All political/governance bodies must institutionalize policies that guarantee gender equality. The AU 50:50 gender parity principle must be replicated and implemented at all levels of national, subregional and regional governance, including through affirmative action and set timelines. Women’s access to elected positions (municipal and parliamentary) must be supported to reach these targets. Leadership training programmes for women, especially young women, should be developed and supported to enable them to exercise responsibilities at all levels. Considering the value of the independent women’s movement representing women’s voices in Africa, women’s organizations should be encouraged and supported. The Pan-African Women’s Organization should also be reorganized and revitalized.
Given the importance of communication and the speed with which information and communication technology (ICT) evolves, it is important that the region adopts and implements gender-aware media policies. There is also a need to: improve women’s access to media and new ICTs; support women’s press and communication initiatives; and, encourage the use of media and new ICTs to promote women’s activities, project positive images and fight against stereotypes and discrimination. In this regard, there is a need to stress the importance of the World Summit on the Information Society that will be held in November 2005 and we call upon the international community to actively participate in the work for this summit, with a view to reducing the current digital divide.
Human Rights of Women
A gender-sensitive and human rights-based approach should inform planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of PRSPs, MDGs, national priorities, annual plans and expenditure frameworks. Harmful and/or discriminatory practices that sustain gender inequality and inequity must be eliminated, and social, cultural, traditional and religious norms and values that sustain equality, equity and justice must be promoted. Partnership between women and men in addressing practices which have a negative impact on gender equality should be developed. The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women should be signed and ratified by all States in Africa, preferably by the end of 2005. Governments should domesticate and implement all the international and regional instruments on women’s rights and gender equality and equity which they have ratified, and to ensure their implementation.
Conflict Prevention, Peace Building and Reconstruction
. Measures that affirm the role and rights of women during the negotiation, transition and reconstruction phases should be upheld and mechanisms for their implementation and monitoring should be strengthened at regional and international levels. The trauma of rejection of female refugees on account of the consequences of rape and other forms of gender based violence must be addressed. Support to women in political processes in countries emerging from conflict must be increased so they can influence conflict prevention, peace building and reconstruction. UNSC Resolution 1325 and the AU Protocol on Women’s Rights must be fully implemented. Advocacy and punitive action against impunity must be stepped up. The principle of denying to warlords and perpetrators of violence against women and girls, positions of leadership in post conflict reconstruction should be adopted as an international norm. Governments must put in place functional mechanisms and intervention programmes for the protection of women and girls in refugee and IDP camps against violence and all forms of sexual abuse. Humanitarian interventions must pay attention to the health needs, especially reproductive and sexual health, of women and girls in conflict, refugee, and IDP situations.
African governments should adopt gender-responsive policies, programmes, strategies and measures on environment. Women should play a prominent role in the design and implementation of policies and programmes on water, energy, sanitation, land and forestry conservation and management, as well as in rural and urban planning. Rural women and their concerns must be integrated into the planning and management of eco-systems, eco-tourism and biodiversity. The achievement of MDG 7 with respect to ensuring environmental sustainability must be engendered.
Specific efforts must be made to protect the girl-child against discrimination, ill-health, malnutrition, stereotyping, violence, including genital mutilation, early and forced marriage and exploitation through domestic work and trafficking. Successful strategies for improving girls’ access to and retention in education should be scaled-up. The content and culture of schooling should be free from bias, discrimination and violence against girls. These would require curriculum reform, gender training for teachers and others working in education, as well as for boys and girls, together with continuous advocacy with parents, traditional and religious leaders, parliamentarians and other stakeholders. Access to professional and technical education for girls should be facilitated and there should be gender-focussed programmes for boys and girls. Furthermore, the main financial partners should reflect greater commitment to women and girls.
There is an urgent need for government to address gender power relations in order to protect women and girls from all forms of violence and enable women to negotiate safe sex, through legislation, law enforcement, advocacy and sensitization. In particular, governments must establish, enforce and monitor strict legal frameworks to address the vulnerability of women and girls, and halt exploitation of orphans, especially girls. A fund should be established to ensure women’s access to post-exposure prophylaxes, anti-retroviral treatment, mother-to-child transmission prevention treatment (before and after delivery), as well as support for homecare services. Resources should also be invested in making sure that methods of prevention that are controlled by women are available and accessible. Governments should monitor the newly emerging types of violence and human rights abuses within the context of the HIV/AIDS. Priority should be given to making available and monitoring care-taking services for orphans, protecting their inheritance rights and providing counselling. Governments must establish gender indicators to monitor HIV/AIDS programme goals and outcomes, to measure progress and enforce accountability in the use of resources.
Partnerships with Men
Accelerating the implementation of the BPFA in the context of the MDGs requires that gender equality is no longer seen only as the women’s agenda. Men’s full commitment, accountability and partnership with women is crucial. Government decision-making institutional and organizational cultures must be transformed to embrace gender equality and women’s rights in behaviours, attitudes and norms, through gender sensitization, capacity-building and monitoring at all levels. Innovative rights-based and culture-sensitive focused programmes must be developed for the participation and active involvement of men and boys in the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Programmes that address families should be developed to integrate the culture of equality and human rights processes in all aspects of the socialization process, including the sharing of domestic work and childcare.
The support of the UN system to Africa to the implementation and monitoring of the BPFA and the MDGs is appreciated. Technical and financial support for training, capacity-building, research and documentation have been undertaken and should be strengthened in the coming years. The developed countries and international financial and trade institutions are called upon to strengthen the implementation of the commitments they have undertaken in UN conferences and summits, including Beijing and Beijing+5, to support African countries in their efforts to implement the agreed outcomes of these meetings. This should include the provision of official development assistance (ODA) at agreed levels, addressing comprehensively debt problems of African countries, ensuring access of African exports to world markets and the provision of technical assistance and capacity-building, in keeping with the spirit of partnership and mutual accountability.
Section B – Institutional Measures For Effective Gender Mainstreaming
An important ingredient for accelerating delivery of the BPFA is strengthening institutionalization of gender equality and equity through the provision of adequate resources, technical expertise and sufficient authority. The strategic objectives and actions defined in this section must be executed by all stakeholders, with national machineries and gender units providing oversight and facilitation of gender responsive delivery of development programmes.
Policy development and review
In Beijing, member States affirmed their political will to promote gender equality and equity by endorsing the Platform for Action. Governments should evaluate on a regular basis the extent to which political will is translated into concrete results, so as to identify and remedy the gaps in existing gender policies and implementation and support them with the allocation of the appropriate human and material resources. Governments must utilize gender expertise in designing all policies and programmes.
Responsibility and Accountability
Women/Gender Ministries and other line Ministries should agree upon a division of tasks for gender mainstreaming in their respective areas of responsibility and expertise. The core functions of gender officials need to be institutionalized in all ministries, so as to ensure that gender concerns are mainstreamed into all polices, programmes and activities. It is essential that accountability for the achievement of gender equality is the responsibility of the highest authority in all ministries, not only gender machineries and focal points.
Governments should provide adequate human and financial resources to national structures dealing with gender issues. To ensure that more gender specific data become available, national statistical offices should be supported to strengthen gender data collection and dissemination. In addition, data users need to be trained in the analysis and utilization of these data for planning, monitoring and evaluation. National capacity must also be built in the civil service, universities, and think-tanks to undertake gendered research and gender sensitive programmes.
The lack of effective coordination mechanisms within gender structures, and between these structures and all levels of other institutions, impedes gender mainstreaming. Therefore, institutions must develop effective coordination mechanisms with clear lines of communication, roles, responsibilities, accountability and levels of authority. Coordination frameworks must define specific terms for collaboration and partnership between the public sector, development partners and the private sector (including NGOs), for the effective coordination of gender mainstreaming at all levels.
In the first post-Beijing decade, civil society organizations featured highly in advocacy on gender equality and women’s human rights and empowerment. In the coming decade, governments and regional institutions must build on this and strengthen their advocacy, and develop partnership with civil society organizations, in conducting education and information campaigns aimed at mainstreaming gender concerns. This advocacy work should be linked to policies and to programmes so as to enhance collective responsibility for mainstreaming and accountability.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The Committee for Women and Development (CWD) will have the responsibility for monitoring implementation of these renewed commitments. Instruments of accountability of the NEPAD Peer Review Mechanism, the AU Commission, the regional economic commissions, as well as national planning, budgeting and implementation processes should be engendered and strengthened to assess the adequacy of inputs, level of results and remaining challenges to achieving gender equality and equity in all sectors. It will be necessary to integrate the issue of gender into the mechanisms of APRM and other areas of evaluation. The MDG annual reporting process should integrate a review of the implementation of the BPFA. Furthermore, the African Gender and Development Index (AGDI), currently being piloted, could provide a framework for priority-setting, tracking progress and accountability, and upon completion could be adopted for use by member States. The AU should be encouraged to convene a meeting of Ministers for Women’s Affairs to agree on monitoring priorities for tracking delivery against the commitments of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, adopted in 2004.
Source United states of America Tanzania Embasy Report; Special thanks to Mr Elias Soka from Zoom College in Tanzania.