AfDB Prepares 2008 International Women’s Day

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AfDB Prepares 2008 International Women’s Day

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations at the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group will be held on the theme: "Financing for Gender Equality". The celebrations will kick off on March 6, with a forum on the importance of gender within the context of infrastructure development projects, to be chaired by the Vice President in charge of Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, Mandla Gantsho, in his capacity as Vice President and Gender Equality Champion of the Bank. There will be a discussion on a Gender Resource and Results Tracking System to sensitize staff in operations complexes on the importance of allocating resources in support of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Sector Operations Vice President, Zeinab El-Bakri, will host a similar forum later on Monday. Young Professionals, for their part, will mark the occasion by hosting a "Take a Female Youth to Work Day" on Friday to inspire young girls to explore their career and life aspirations.

Other activities lined up for the day itself which is March 8 include an exhibition of artifacts and publications by women, as well as a women’s football match. Corporate Management Vice President, Arunma Oteh, will deliver a speech on "Progress of Gender in the Bank". President Donald Kaberuka, who recently suggested that gender be placed at the same level with agriculture in the Bank’s work, is expected to make a statement on the institution’s commitment to gender equality.

The theme adopted this year by the international community in commemoration of the International Women’s day is "Financing for Gender Equality". This theme is of great relevance to the Bank as a financial institution for three main reasons. First, as acknowledged in its Gender Policy, the Bank, in accordance with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action  is required, among other things, to increase resources allocated to eliminate absolute poverty and promote gender equality. Secondly, the Bank, as a member of the international community, will participate in the Accra High Level Forum (HLF) which will take place from September 2-4, 2008, and the Doha Review Conference from November 29 to December 2, 2008, to take stock and review progress made in implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid effectiveness and the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development respectively. Thirdly, and even more relevant, are the outcomes of ADF 11 negotiations which ended with an unprecedented level of replenishment of US$ 8.9 billion which represents an increase of 52 percent over ADF-10 resources. This has created a solid financial base that will enable the Bank to deliver on its MDG commitments, including those related to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. It is now celebrated in many countries as a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political divisions. It is an occasion to look back on past struggles and accomplishments and, more importantly, to look ahead to untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

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