The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is prioritizing initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls since it has been identified as one of the surest way to swiftly develop the sub-region and Continent at large.
This came to the fore at a high level meeting of EWOWAS Ministers of Gender and Women Affairs held on the sidelines at the ongoing sixty-second United Nations Commission on the Status of Women at the UN Headquarters, New York.
The session on the theme ‘Recognizing Women Living in Rural Areas as Exceptional Actors of Economic and Social Integration in The ECOWAS Region” was chaired by the Vice President and Minister of Women Affairs and Gender of the Republic of the Gambia, H.E Mrs. Fatoumata Jallow Tambjang.
Mrs. Fatoumata Jallow Tambjang commended the ECOWAS for working progressively to advance the welfare of women especially rural women and girls within the sub-region. However, she called for more commitment and support to ensure Gender issue remain pertinent and important on the African Agenda.
H.E. M. Tiijjani Muhammad Bande, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the UN in his goodwill message said there are no differences in the challenges confronting the countries in the sub region in terms of education, health, norms and values.
“We need to work in unison as ECOWAS. It is us who must ensure that the laws and policies work to improve gender equality within the sub region. This platform is extremely important. Nigeria is committed to working to push the ECOWAS region. No development happens outside time frame so we must learn to work within a timely manner”.
Sharing experiences and capitalization of good practices of the ECOWAS Member States in the implementation of the EDGDC’s flagship, Ghana’s minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba commended the ECOWAS for their tremendous contribution in advancing the welfare of women in Ghana especially in the areas of Education, Health among others.
She briefed the ECOWAS on significant strides made in fighting child marriage and female genital mutilation, promoting girl child education, fistula repairs and ensuring gender parity in Ghana’s education system.
Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba urged ECOWAS to ensure the implementation of the Free Senior High Secondary School policy across the sub-region to help rural girls get access to secondary education.
Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire also shared experiences and good practices geared towards the promotion of the welfare of women.
Ghana|Atinkaonline.firstname.lastname@example.org|Regina Asamaoh| New York