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ECOWAS strengthens fight against gender-based discrimination

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Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it is facilitating the empowerment of women and strengthening the fight against gender-based discrimination through policies and programmes.

The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr Sidie Mohamed Tunis, said this at the ongoing ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA) Town Hall meeting in Abuja on Friday.

The theme of the meeting is “Rejuvenate Democracy by Giving Voice to the Young People”, organised by the parliament and ECOFEPA.

Tunis said the meeting was strategically aligned with the current ECOWAS Vision 2050, which placed more emphasis on women and youths development in the sub-region.

The speaker said it aimed to address some of the issues that had contributed to gender inequalities.

He also said the regional economic bloc had recognised the special role of women and youths as actors, agents and beneficiaries of development.

Tunis said that was why the ECOWAS had made concrete commitments and taken tangible actions to ensure the integration of the gender dimension in all planned actions and activities of the parliament.

“Significantly, the allocation of a budget line to ECOFEPA and gender programmes in the parliament’s annual budget, has facilitated the empowerment of women and strengthened the fight against gender-based discrimination, all designed to address inequalities between men and women and to promote gender equality.

“We do not take for granted the critical role women and youths play in advancing gender parity, promoting social diversities and inclusion, holding the executive to account, and drawing attention to specific issues such as the plight of street children, rising youth unemployment and illegal migration.”

Tunis noted that the Fifth Legislature, under his leadership, had been working to ensure that the voices, aspirations and inclusion of the women and youths in politics and decision-making received regional attention.

Tunis said he was working with political stakeholders, civil society organisations, developmental partners, women and youths networks and ECOFEPA to achieve this.

The speaker said they were also a mandatory prerequisite needed for the attainment of a peaceful and prosperous future for everyone.

He further acknowledged and commended steps being taken by ECOWAS member states to address gender issues.

The speaker expressed optimism that lessons learned at the end of the meeting would go beyond the region.

Moreso, Tunis expressed gratitude to ECOFEPA for organising the meeting as a way of deepening the integration process and scaling up social inclusion for the citizens in the region. (NAN)

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