By Nyaguthii Wangui Maina*

Globally, governments from both the North and South have come to a succinct realisation through the soon to be expired Millennium Development Goals that collective efforts are required in achieving gender parity for now obvious reasons: 1) it is a human rights issue; and 2) it is one of the surest measures for poverty reduction, inclusive growth and prosperity. This realisation can be seen as reflected in the soon to be adopted Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 5 which envisions achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls universally.

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A more in depth look at the proposed SDG 5 is below:

SDG 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls:

5.1. End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls
5.2. Eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls
5.3. Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations
5.4. Recognise and value unpaid care and domestic work and promote shared responsibility within the household and family
5.5. Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life: and,
5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights

The Open Working Group proposed gender specific targets in 10 other Sustainable Development Goals, including:

  • Equal rights to economic resources, ownership, access and control over land
  • Reducing maternal mortality and universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning
  • Equal access to education at all levels
  • Access to full and productive employment and equal pay for equal work
  • Safe public transport and public spaces for women

The Goals which are to be adopted this coming September require an ambitious financing framework to turn political aspirations into a reality. Governments and multiple stakeholders in the global economy appreciate this fact and will be holding the third conference on financing for development from 13-16th July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss on the same.

In this regard, FEMNET, the Post 2015 Women’s Coalition and the African Women’s Development Fund organised a meeting from 6-8th May in Nairobi Kenya, to convene passionate feminists from across the African continent to strategise on a transformational agenda for women in Africa in the context of Financing for Development (FfD) and the Post 2015 Development Agenda. The meeting discussed a myriad of topics: from transforming women’s structural location in Africa’s Development, to alternatives beyond poverty reduction & inclusiveness narratives, to systemic challenges in Africa’s Transformation Agenda, to critical assessments of relevant development projects for Africa women and girls, to regional trends, shifts and priorities in post 2015 development agenda and tax justice, to name but a few.

“A transformative agenda if not backed with adequate resources seizes to be implementable,” echoed Ms. Dinah Musindarwezo from FEMNET as she opened the workshop. Her sentiments were shared across the room and Ms. Sarah Mukasa from Africa Women’s Development Fund challenged women to better understand and be more present in the macroeconomic discussions impacting the critical areas of their work – with the upcoming Financing for Development conference providing an opportune platform to do so.

As W.E.B Du Bois put it, “In this world there is no force equal to a woman determined to rise.”

Discussions that emerged from the workshop will be shared in subsequent blog posts.

*Ms Nyaguthii Wangui Maina is a blogger; connect with her on Musings of A People and @nm_wangui.

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