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The Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) held a meeting about the expectations of women and youth during the 30th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of States and government that is being held under the theme ‘Winning the Fight against Corruption: A sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.’
The meeting that was attended by ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe came up with recommendations that will be passed on to Africa’s leaders for adoption at the AU Summit.
“The theme of this year’s consultation – ‘Corruption and Governance: Impact and way out for Women, Children and Youth’ – is both timely and important. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development agreed upon in 2015 commits the international community to leaving no one behind. Indeed, Target 5 of Goal 16 calls on member states to substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms,” Songwe said.
The meeting focused on identifying strategies, approaches and interventions that have continental implications to limit the continuous effects of corruption in governance, which hinder development, weaken the structures of community balance, promote violence and encourage the negative – yet avoidable – consequences of marginalization and ethnocentrism.
“Corruption is a multifaceted phenomenon that affects population groups differently. As is often the case, it is the most disadvantaged and vulnerable population groups that face the brunt of the adverse effects of corruption. These groups include women, children and the youth, especially those from poor households and those living in rural areas. Here I will focus on the gender-related impact of corruption,” Songwe pointed out.
She further stated that socio-cultural norms and institutional arrangements are key factors that shape the roles that males and females are expected to play in society, as well as their ability to access productive resources, accumulate marketable skills and participate in political and public life. As a result, corruption will impact men and women differently.
Data shows that in health, maternal mortality in Africa excluding North Africa accounted for two thirds of all maternal deaths worldwide in 2015. Nineteen African countries had maternal mortality rates of above 500 maternal deaths for every 100, 000 live births in 2015 – this is still high compared to a rate of 216 worldwide . This is partly due to the fact that, just 71 percent of babies are delivered by a skilled health worker in Africa. Given this state of affairs, inadequate investment in the health care system as a result of corruption, is expected to disproportionately affect women of reproductive age.
“Furthermore, women continue to shoulder the heavy burden of unpaid work leaving them less time to spend on income-generating activities and politics. Research by ECA using time-use survey data in 7 African countries shows that on average women spent between 3 to 17 times on unpaid work compared to men, including caring for young children and adults, collecting firewood and fetching water,” Songwe said.
In Africa, insufficient investment in pre-primary education and care, the health system and energy, transport and water infrastructure is seen as a result of corruption. In turn, women will have to continue to bear the burden of unpaid care work thereby potentially limiting their economic and political empowerment; that is what needs to be tackled.