By our Reporter.
Women Members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) have called for the inclusion of women in all peace building activities.
In resolutions adopted at the end of a two day PAP Conference on women’s rights, participants were concerned that women and children are the most affected by conflicts and displacement.
The conference was held at the Parliament headquarters in Midrand, South Africa from 14th to 15th October 2019. It was attended by African women legislators and persons involved in work and advocacy in the areas of women and gender.
The conference, held since 2008, provides an avenue for on-going 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 programes, policies and activities of the African Union and PAP.
They noted with regret that women bear the burden of poverty, owing to limited access to decision-making processes, finance, education, health and means of production.
They called upon African Union (AU) Member States to strengthen comprehensive mediation, peace building and conflict resolution mechanisms, including the full participation of women in all peace building activities and processes.
Gomba West MP Robinah Rwakoojo said that women should be key in all peace building activities of government since women and girls are mostly affected by instabilities.
Sembabule Woman MP Hanifa Kawooya appealed to the MPs to gain confidence to be able to lobby their male colleagues and government to see that issues affecting women are passed in Parliament.
She emphasized on the need for women to work on their communication skills and gaining confidence to lobby governments to push their issues through Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Women MPs also urged African Union member states to put the concerns of refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless persons on the agendas of the AU Peace and Security Council and Regional Economic Communities.
The other recommendations were AU member states to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, calling 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 and ensuring access to trade information, services, finance, ICT and market opportunities.
The MPs also want parliamentarians to monitor the negotiations, the implementation and impact of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement with a particular focus on the participation of women and a call for member states to build the capacity of women so that they can add value to commodities with the view to increase production and supply of services.
The women MPs further recommended parliamentarians to advocate in their member states for Internet access as a basic right and the integration of ICT into school curriculum and the elimination of barriers to enable young girls pursue programmes in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).