None of the 15 ECOWAS countries can boast of gender equality in its social, political, and economic spheres despite many years of continuous struggle by women and advocates. Rather, the recent pandemic exacerbated violence against women, with countries such as Mali and Niger topping the global chart of underage marriages with a prevalence of 77% and 61% respectively.
The obstacles to women’s participation in economic and political activities have reached an unprecedented degree in the last 5 years. Women’s contributions to societal development remain undervalued as they continue to work more yet earn less than their male counterparts.
In addition to the deliberate exclusion of women and feminists from decision-making processes at all levels of society, long-established discriminatory policies and bias systems continue to serve as impediments to women’s ability to advance the gender agenda in constantly changing contexts, no matter how well they try.
In a bid to reset the agenda and pragmatically address these challenges, generations of feminists continue to lead advocacy and explore mechanisms for women’s rights and empowerment, for the achievement of gender equality and justice in political and economic governance at national and regional levels.
Notwithstanding the launch of the African Feminists Charter in 2005, women groups, agencies, networks, and movements still have huge tasks around cross-border collaborations, solidarity, movement building, and bonding among different generations of feminists.
In this light, WACSI and BAOBAB For Women’s Human Rights are convening a two-day feminists intergenerational dialogue in Abuja, Nigeria to discuss lingering and emerging issues, unpack prevalent challenges and identify opportunities to promote gender equality, justice, and strengthening of women agency in the region.
The forum themed “Building collective power for gender equality and justice,” holds from 3-4 August 2022 and it is supported by Ford Foundation.
In addition to connecting generations of feminist actors with diverse feminist philosophies across the region, the forum will present a safe space for open discussions on pertinent challenges to women’s rights and freedoms in a pre-post pandemic era, while exploring strategies to bridge gaps, cultivate a culture for progress and broadly assess the state of feminist agenda in the West African region through mini-presentations, case studies, and documentaries.
The outcomes of this forum will be documented to serve as a pool of knowledge for different actors, and proffer actionable recommendations to bridge intergenerational gaps within the feminist movement in the region while fostering solidarity and making it more resilient.