Category Archives: International Women’s Day

Panel Discussion on the 2018 International Women’s Day in Cameroon

    
UNIC Yaounde on behalf of the United Nations System in Cameroon organized a panel discussion on “Intensify the fight against discrimination on women: Strengthen partnership to speed up sustainable development” on Tuesday 6 February 2018 at the UNIC Conference Room. This talk had as main objective, the exchange of information with university students in development studies, and civil societies on concrete actions carried out by the UN system in Cameroon, towards empowering women and girls. 

Adama Moussa, Resident Representative of UNWOMEN emphasized the normative framework for the protection of women’s right, stating the four resolutions adopted by the UN to protect women such as: Violence against women, peace and security, Economic autonomy and political participation. Mr. Adama further harps on the fact that women representation should be specific, temporal and corrective in government positions and elections in order to attain UN’s gender parity policy. “The aim now is to have 30% of women integrated in each sector in Cameroon for operation gender 50/50 is a gradual process” he said. He insisted that the economic autonomy of women can be achieved only by promoting women to become economically and giving them equal opportunities and access to land and production.

Daniela Luciana, Head of Child Protection at UNICEF focusing on early marriages and other forms of traditional constraints on women, states that UNICEF mobilizes tools not only to work with the community on violence against women, but also to challenge norms and taboos against certain forms of violence practiced in the society. The more girls are educated, the less child marriage is experienced. Thus, UNICEF is working to improve girls’ education, so that they do not drop from school after primary education to get marry. She further added that according to the 2011 survey, statistics revealed that 50% of girls got married before the age of 18 in the Eastern and Adamawa regions, and 1 out of 3 at the national level and 80% of women and girls have been victims of sexual violence in which most cases happen at home and the perpetrators are always very close people that the victims know.

Abdoulaye Balde; Representative and Country Director of WFP, highlighted actions taken by WFP to economically empower the rural women; who are the backbone of food production, with skills to transform local produce into semi-finished or finished product.  Queuing with UNICEF’s policy of sending girls to school, Mr. Baldé added that WFP provides food to students in some areas of the northern part of Cameroon as an incentive for them to remain in school.

UNIC’s Jean Njita; who moderated the talks, called on participants to be ambassadors of change.  Quoting Memory Banda the 18-year-old Malawian, on child marriage, Mr. Njita stated that “Marriage is often the end for girls like me. But if our leaders invest in us and give us the chance to be educated, we will become women who create a better society for everyone.”

During the question and answer session, questions were asked such as:

  • With legal framework stated by UNWOMEN put in place in Cameroon, is there hope for women in Cameroon?
  • What actions have been taken by UNWomen against the rape cases by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic?
  • What is UNICEF doing to prevent early marriages?
  • Why are men the ones talking on women’s day etc.,

UNIC Yaounde provided information kits to the over 40 participants at the event containing: the UNSG’s message on IWD2018, brief history of the IWD, Africa Renewal on keeping girls in school, notebooks, etc… UNIC equally mobilized journalist who covered the panel discussions organized at UNIC conference room. Media organs represented included; Ariane TV, CRTV, Equinoxe Television, Cameroon Tribune, Vision4 Television, Le Messager etc…

UN Secretary-General Message on International Women’s Day (Scroll down for French Version)

New York, 8 March 2018

We are at a pivotal moment for women’s rights. The historical and structural inequalities that have allowed oppression and discrimination to flourish are being exposed like never before. From Latin America to Europe to Asia, on social media, on film sets, on the factory floor and in the streets, women are calling for lasting change and zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination of all kinds.

Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world. The activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit. There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organizations, including the United Nations. Gender equality is enshrined in countless laws, and harmful practices like female genital mutilation and child marriage have been outlawed in many countries.

But serious obstacles remain if we are to address the historic power imbalances that underpin discrimination and exploitation. More than a billion women around the world lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence. The global gender pay gap is 23 per cent, rising to 40 per cent in rural areas, and the unpaid work done by many women goes unrecognized. Women’s representation in national parliaments stands, on average, at less than one quarter, and in boardrooms it is even lower. Without concerted action, millions more girls will be subjected to genital mutilation over the next decade.

Where laws exist, they are often ignored, and women who pursue legal redress are doubted, denigrated and dismissed. We now know that sexual harassment and abuse have been thriving in workplaces, public spaces and private homes, in countries that pride themselves on their record of gender equality.

The United Nations should set an example for the world. I recognize that this has not always been the case. Since the start of my tenure last year, I have set change in motion at UN headquarters, in our peacekeeping missions and in all our offices worldwide.

We have now reached gender parity for the first time in my senior management team, and I am determined to achieve this throughout the organization. I am totally committed to zero tolerance of sexual harassment and have set out plans to improve reporting and accountability. We are working closely with countries around the world to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse by staff in peacekeeping missions, and to support victims.

We at the United Nations stand with women around the world as they fight to overcome the injustices they face – whether they are rural women dealing with wage discrimination, urban women organizing for change, women refugees at risk of exploitation and abuse, or women who experience intersecting forms of discrimination: widows, indigenous women, women with disabilities and women who do not conform to gender norms.

Women’s empowerment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals means progress for all women, everywhere. The Spotlight initiative launched jointly with the European Union will focus resources on eliminating violence against women and girls, a prerequisite for equality and empowerment. Let me be clear: this is not a favour to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls. Gender inequality and discrimination against women harms us all.

There is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous. Where women face discrimination, we often find practices and beliefs that are detrimental to all. Paternity leave, laws against domestic violence and equal pay legislation benefit everyone. At this crucial moment for women’s rights, it is time for men to stand with women, listen to them and learn from them. Transparency and accountability are essential if women are to reach their full potential and lift all of us, in our communities, societies and economies.

I am proud to be part of this movement, and I hope it continues to resonate within the United Nations and around the world.

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Nous vivons actuellement un moment décisif pour les droits des femmes. Les inégalités historiques et structurelles qui ont fait le lit de l’oppression et des discriminations n’ont jamais été dénoncées si unanimement. De l’Amérique latine à l’Europe en passant par l’Asie, sur les réseaux sociaux, les plateaux de cinéma, dans les usines et dans la rue, les femmes appellent à un changement durable et réclament la tolérance zéro à l’égard des agressions, de la discrimination et du harcèlement sexuels sous toutes leurs formes.

L’égalité des sexes et l’autonomisation des femmes et des filles sont les véritables gageures de notre époque et le plus grand défi que le monde ait à relever en matière de droits fondamentaux. Le militantisme et la persévérance de générations de femmes ont porté leurs fruits. Le nombre de filles scolarisées, de femmes ayant un emploi rémunéré et de femmes occupant des postes à haute responsabilité dans le secteur privé, les milieux universitaires, la sphère politique et les organisations internationales, y compris l’ONU, n’a jamais été aussi élevé. L’égalité des sexes est inscrite dans d’innombrables textes de loi, et les pratiques traditionnelles néfastes comme les mutilations génitales féminines et le mariage des enfants sont maintenant illégales dans de nombreux pays. Il nous reste toutefois de nombreux obstacles à franchir pour remédier aux inégalités ancestrales qui sont le creuset des discriminations et de l’exploitation.

À l’heure actuelle, dans le monde, plus d’un milliard de femmes ne sont pas protégées par la loi si elles venaient à subir des violences sexuelles dans leur foyer. L’écart de rémunération entre hommes et femmes est de 23 % à l’échelle mondiale. Il peut aller jusqu’à 40 % dans les zones rurales, et le travail non rémunéré que font de nombreuses femmes n’est pas reconnu. Les femmes occupent en moyenne moins d’un quart des sièges dans les parlements nationaux, et sont encore moins nombreuses dans les conseils d’administration. Si nous n’agissons pas ensemble, des millions de filles subiront des mutilations génitales dans les dix années à venir.

Là où des lois existent, elles sont souvent ignorées, et les femmes qui portent plainte sont discréditées, dénigrées et méprisées. Nous le savons désormais : le harcèlement et les atteintes sexuels sont monnaie courante sur les lieux de travail, dans l’espace public et dans les foyers, et ce, dans des pays qui se félicitent de leur bilan en matière d’égalité des sexes. L’Organisation des Nations Unies doit être un exemple pour le monde entier. Je reconnais que cela n’a pas toujours été le cas. Depuis que j’ai pris mes fonctions, l’an dernier, j’ai à cœur d’introduire le changement au Siège de l’Organisation des Nations Unies, dans nos missions de maintien de la paix et dans nos bureaux partout dans le monde.

Pour la première fois dans l’histoire de l’ONU, nous avons atteint la parité dans mon équipe dirigeante, et je suis résolu à faire appliquer cette parité à tous les niveaux de l’Organisation. Je soutiens sans réserve la politique de tolérance zéro à l’égard du harcèlement sexuel et j’ai lancé des initiatives visant à améliorer la procédure de signalement des cas et l’application du principe de responsabilité dans ce domaine. Nous travaillons en étroite collaboration avec les pays du monde entier pour prévenir et combattre l’exploitation et les atteintes sexuelles commises par des membres du personnel des missions de maintien de la paix et pour venir en aide aux victimes.

L’Organisation des Nations Unies soutient les femmes du monde entier dans leur combat contre les injustices qu’elles subissent, qu’il s’agisse de femmes du monde rural victimes de discrimination salariale, de citadines qui se mobilisent pour faire changer les choses, de femmes réfugiées exposées à l’exploitation et aux violences, ou de femmes qui doivent faire face à des formes conjuguées de discrimination : je pense ici aux veuves, aux femmes autochtones, aux femmes handicapées et à celles qui ne se conforment pas aux normes de genre.

L’autonomisation des femmes est au cœur du Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030. Tout progrès dans la réalisation des objectifs de développement durable est un progrès pour toutes les femmes, partout dans le monde. L’Initiative Spotlight, lancée en partenariat avec l’Union européenne, vise à allouer des ressources à l’élimination de la violence à l’égard des femmes et des filles, condition sine qua none de l’égalité des sexes et de l’autonomisation des femmes.

Je veux être très clair : il ne s’agit pas de privilégier les femmes ou de leur faire une faveur. L’égalité des sexes est non seulement une question de respect des droits fondamentaux, mais un progrès pour nous tous, femmes et hommes, filles et garçons. Les inégalités et la discrimination dont sont victimes les femmes nous sont néfastes à tous. Il est prouvé depuis longtemps qu’investir dans les femmes est le moyen le plus efficace de dynamiser les communautés, les entreprises et même les pays. La participation des femmes rend les accords de paix plus solides, les sociétés plus résilientes, la croissance économique plus vigoureuse. À l’inverse, là où les femmes sont victimes de discrimination, c’est souvent à cause de pratiques et de croyances qui nous nuisent à tous. Le congé de paternité, les lois contre la violence familiale et celles qui promeuvent l’égalité salariale sont un progrès pour l’humanité toute entière.

En ce moment décisif pour les droits des femmes, il est grand temps que les hommes se battent à leurs côtés, les écoutent et apprennent d’elles. Si l’on veut que les femmes puissent réaliser pleinement leur potentiel et tirer nos communautés, nos sociétés et nos économies vers le haut, il nous faut impérativement appliquer deux principes : celui de la transparence et celui de la responsabilité.

Je suis fier de participer à ce mouvement, et j’espère que le vent du changement continuera de souffler dans notre Organisation, et partout dans le monde.

ONE UN STAND at National Exhibition in Yaounde 2016 International Women’s Day

PhotoThe United Nations System in Cameroon and the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family (MINPROFF) organized a series of activities to commemorate the 2016 International Women’s Day (IWD) on the theme chosen by the Cameroon government: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Meeting the challenge and overcoming the obstaclesfrom 04 – 08 March 2016. The theme for this 31 edition of IWD was taken from the global theme proposed by the United Nations: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.

Photo2The UN System participated at the 2-day Exhibition set-up by MINPROFF at the esplanade of the Yaounde City Council from 03 to 04 March 2016 with a ONE UN STAND with UN Women and UNIC as lead. UN publications and documents on the IWD Theme and related issues were on display and for distribution to visitors at the stand such as Peace and Security, Development, Human Rights, Education of the young girls, UNSC Resolution 1325, Convention on the Elimination of all discrimination against women, UNSG Campaign to End Violence against Women, Maternal health, Population, Health, Gender, Children’s Right, Human Rights, Refugee Protection, Africa Renewal’s Special Edition on Women, amongst others.

Photo1These were contributed by UNWOMEN, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, UNFPA, UNCHRD and UNIC. The stand received more than 400 visitors. UNIC also distributed copies of the UNSG message and Information Kits to special Guests, Civil Society leaders and the media.

 

UN4U Educational Outreach Event at Siantou University Institute for International Women’s Day 2016

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UNIC Yaounde, on behalf of the United Nations System organized a UN4U Educational Outreach Event at the Siantou University Institute on 7 March 2016. The main objective of this Educational Talk was to share vital information on the 2016 theme with students and provide hints and tips that could help attain the 50-50 parity in gender equality in Cameroon by 2030.

Photo4The Present General of the Siantou University, Honorable Wantou Siantou Lucien welcomed the UN delegation. UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon; Mrs Najat Rochdi in turn encouraged students of the Siantou University Institute to be models in the respect of gender equality in their daily interaction as student, in their homes and the society.

Photo11Panel discussions were moderated by Mrs Rochdi, and different sub-themes were presented by panelists comprised of the following heads of UN agencies;

  • Adama Moussa (UNWOMEN) on “Women and Access to factors of Production”,
  • Mrs Felicité Tchibindat (UNICEF) on “Peace, Security and violence Against Women and Girls
  • Mrs Barbara Sow (UNFPA) on “Violence Against Women and maternal mortality”.

Photo5Panelists shared statistics on the situation of access to school by young girls, situation of Violence Against Women, and the importance of women’s access to economic opportunities. They equally shared knowledge and experience on some traditional and cultural obstacles to women empowerment in the area of maternal mortality and female genital mutilation, while spelling out some major advancement by Cameroon. Answers were provided to questions raised by students, with a call for the active involvement of youths and women (who constitute more than 51% of the population) for an emerging Cameroon by 2030, free of all forms of gender violence. UNIC distributed copies of the UNSG message and Information Kits to special Guests and the media.

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