Glaring gender disparities in Africa must be overcome, Migiro says

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro

21 November 2008 – While many African countries have experienced economic growth in recent years, glaring gender disparities remain in the areas of health, higher education, employment and empowerment, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told an international meeting in Addis Ababa today.

The crises of climate change, global financial turmoil and high prices for food and fuel have the potential to widen gender inequalities, she added in an address to the second meeting of the Africa Commission, focusing on the creation of jobs to further economic growth in Africa.

Women in Africa and throughout the developing world are largely responsible for the household water supply and energy for cooking and heating, as well as for food security, she noted. At the same time, they tend to have little income, and unequal access to resources, land, technologies and other assets. When food becomes expensive, women and their families fall deeper into poverty.

Ms. Migiro said the world must move beyond short-term solutions such as emergency food aid and tackle the underlying causes by improving access to education, health, marketing infrastructure, technologies, secure land rights, irrigation water and clean energy sources.

She also called for greater involvement of women in the decision-making processes in addressing climate change, the food and energy crises and the financial crisis.

Convened by Denmark and consisting of a number of prominent politicians, business leaders and experts, the Africa Commission is charged with presenting innovative strategies to improve international development cooperation with Africa, focusing on young people and employment. The two-day meeting began yesterday.


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