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Decade of African Women

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Brenda Yufeh

The Minister of Women Empowerment launched the event while celebrating the 48th Edition of the African Women's Day in Yaounde.

In a "standing ovation", women in Cameroon have saluted the decision by Heads of State during the African Union meeting to declare 2010-2020 the African Decade of Women with focus on gender equality as key to development programmes. The gesture was made in Yaounde on Saturday, 31 July, as women gathered to commemorate activities marking the 48th Edition of the African Women's Day. The Minister of Women Empowerment and the Family, Mrs Marie Thérése Abena Ondoa nee Obama said, the fact that African Union has adopted the African Women's Decade (2010-2020), under the theme "Gender Equality and Empowerment of the Women: An Ascending Consultative Approach from the Bottom up to the Hierarchy", is an opportunity for African leaders to officially recognise the strategic place of women in the society and the multidimensional role they play in developing the African continent.

The Minister said the Decade of African Women is a period for women in Africa to celebrate achievement and mobilise for the future. Experts reiterated that the African Union's declaration will mean little if governments fail to ratify and implement the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women. The Minister of Women Empowerment and the Family noted that the government has put in place strategies to integrate women in all sectors of development, increase their access to education, health and employment while putting in place elements that safeguard their rights. But there are still obstacles to achieve equality between men and women, discrimination against women and the non-respect of the 30 per cent quota of women in decision-making positions.

Celebrating the 48th Edition of the African Women Day under the theme: "the situation of the African Woman 50 Years after Independence: Challenges and Stakes". Marie Thérese Abena Ondoa said it is time to look back and see what has been done and draw lessons from what went wrong, to correct and what was supposed to be done, to do better. Central to the decade of the African women is that women in Cameroon will tell their stories themselves. They will sit and see what is best to be done to improve on their condition which is not just to fight for their rights but also see what they themselves can do to improve their conditions and problems which do not come only from men but women themselves. The African women's Day event grouped several members of government and women who are refugees from Rwanda and Congo. Traditional fashion parade, cultural display and exhibition stands on the know-how of women graced the event.

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