The AfDB joined the international community to celebrate the International Women’s Day. As part of the event, the AfDB organized a major event in which its Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Nkosana Moyo, presided over the celebrations on behalf of the institution’s president Donald Kaberuka and distributed the President’s medals of award of excellence to recipients whose projects in the field, best carried out gender mainstreaming requirements during the past year.
The theme message of this year’s International Women’s Day was “Equal opportunities and equal rights: Progress for all.”
The AfDB Vice President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, Bobby Pittman, for his part, said the AfDB was committed to empowering women.
“Central to our success as the premier development finance institution in Africa is our unwavering commitment to the empowerment of women and the diversity of our people--our greatest asset,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Senegalese Women’s Lawyers Association President, Marie Delphine Ndiaye, focused on “Women’s Economic Rights in Africa”, outlining the dichotomy between existing legislations on women’s rights and their practical application on the continent, drawing on Senegal’s experience in this regard. She cited areas like land ownership, inheritance and women’s access to certain resources and credit.
She noted that although Senegal’s civil code and common laws like those of many ECOWAS countries, had adopted international statutes and principles, many women were still to break away from local habits to fight for their rights. She noted that since the adoption of the Beijing resolutions fifteen years ago, there was no real progress in the application relevant texts. Sharing Tunisia’s experience in this regard with participants, the Tunisian National Women Association President, Faizza Azzouz, made a presentation on Women and Information Technology in Tunisia, pointing out that that unlike many other African countries, the level of inequality in Tunisia was more between educated and less educated segments of the society than between different genders.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Moyo called on women to continue to fight for their rights for equality until there was nothing else to fight for. “Equal opportunities and equal rights are purely power relationships and power is not simply given away,” he emphasized.