Global Resources

Going back to the drawing board: linking Pan Africanism to Beijing +20

Author: T Muropa
Publication Date: Apr 2015

In this article published by FEMNET, Tafadzwa Muropa, a gender activist and political economist, briefly compares the 8th Pan African Congress in Ghana with the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) in New York - both held in March of 2015 - in the context of what they mean for African women and Pan Africanism. Muropa notes that at the 8th Pan African Congress, the role of women in the Pan African agenda was both clear and non-negotiable, yet at CSW59 it became apparent that many of the gains made by women’s rights organisations and activists were being reversed as a result of their exclusion from the CSW space.

The purpose of the article is to argue that 2015 is a critical year, including the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals, the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goal framework, and with 2015 being the Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063. At the same time, within the Southern Africa context, heads of state will be reviewing progress made since 2005 when they signed to the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) Declaration on Gender and Development, which was later elevated to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

2015 therefore represents a great opportunity for African women to go back to the drawing board as a collective force, assess the key demands, and ensure that the new framework embraces the lived realities of African women and promotes the spirit of Pan Africanism, taking into account of current challenges affecting the continent. Civil society groups, women in public service, faith-based organisations, and other stakeholders need to converge with a common purpose to ensure that in future events, such as the World Economic Forum starting in June 2015 in South Africa, the voices of African women and girls are heard loud and clear.