High level meeting pledges financial boost for gender equality

THE High-Level Generation Equality Africa Regional Meeting on Financing for Gender Equality has pledged to support financially for gender equality across Africa.

Ministers and technical experts from the Ministries of Finance and Gender from 21 African countries concluded with strong commitments towards accelerating financing for gender equality across the African continent in line with the Generation Equality commitments.

Briefing journalists after closing the meeting, Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women, and Special Groups, Dr Dorothy Gwajima, said the meeting had been concluded with five strong commitments on financing gender equality.

“Now that the meeting is over, there are five things that have been highlighted that will be examined and discussed in terms of planning, budgeting, and policymaking,” she said.

She mentioned the milestones as the fight against gender-based violence, women’s economic empowerment, and the advancement of technology and innovation towards gender equality.

The involvement of women in matters pertaining to security and peace is the other, and health is the final concern. Building upon the momentum of Generation Equality’s Midpoint Summit in New York held in September this year, the Dar-es-Salaam meeting highlighted practical measures for integrating gender-responsive budgeting into the core of public policy and national budgets.

The 2023 UN Women UN DESA Gender Snapshot report reveals that women still make up a disproportionate percentage of workers in the informal sector, spend three times more time on unpaid domestic tasks, earn less than half the income of men for similar work, and are faced with severe maternal health risks and a high prevalence of gender-based violence and harmful practices.

Exacerbating these issues, global challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change have intensified inequalities.

During the opening of the meeting, speaking on behalf of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Zanzibar President Dr Hussein Mwinyi highlighted the urgency of addressing the macroeconomic consequences of gender gaps through gender-responsive fiscal policies and inclusive growth and sustainable development.

“This high-level Generation Equality meeting reflects the commitment of African governments to work together towards achieving regional and global commitments on gender equality,” he said.

The UN Women Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Dr Maxime Houinato, highlighted that providing women with equal opportunities boosts the productivity of respective countries and the region. “Gender equality is not a women’s issue; it’s a development issue,” he noted.

This was echoed by the Intentional Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Managing Director, Ms Antoinette Sayeh, pointing out that estimates show closing gender gaps in education and informal labour market participation can significantly increase national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rates in Sub-Saharan African countries.

“Addressing disparities requires a gender lens for the full range of economic policies, from expenditure and revenue administration to policies and budgeting systems,” she stated.

Tanzania, in collaboration with UN Women and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) AFRITAC East, convened the meeting, which brought together Ministers for Finance and Gender from 22 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The gathering highlighted Tanzania’s leadership in the Generation Equality initiative, which aims to accelerate investments and implementation for gender equality worldwide. Ministers from 22 countries participated in the event, along with technical specialists from the respective ministries.

Other countries represented include Burundi, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Madagascar, Senegal, Eritrea, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.

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