By Michael Olugbode
Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on African First Ladies Peace Mission, Dr. Mairo Al-Makura has said Africa’s progress is hinged on gender equality and women’s rights.
Speaking at a press conference to mark the International Women’s Day, Al-Makura said. “The African First Ladies Peace Mission celebrates African women who continually play a crucial role in furthering peace on the continent.”
She however warned that: “We must not lose sight that gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to the continent’s progress in Peace, security and human rights.”
Al-Makura while emphasising that African First Ladies Peace Mission continues to advocate for the right to peace and protection for all women and girls across Africa, said: “The development of Africa cannot be achieved without women’s efforts and contributions.”
She asked that on this International Women’s Day, African women and girls should be empowered and encouraged to ensure their participation in all decision-making levels.
She said though tremendous progress on women’s rights and leadership have been seen over the last few years, but the COVID-19 pandemic was threatening to reverse the gains that have been made.
She lamented that the pandemic has disproportionally impacted women in many areas, particularly gender-based violence and conflict-related violence against women and girls.
She said. “To ensure that the COVID-19 response and recovery acknowledges their realities, women need to have a seat at the decision-making table.”