We are integral to sustainable peace, recovery and development, say Malian women
Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
At the international donors’ conference for Mali, taking place in Brussels today, co-chaired by the European Union and France, Malian women will present recommendations calling for greater participation by women in the conflict resolution and rebuilding of the economy.
“We are placing huge importance on this donors’ conference. All our hopes are centred on its deliberations on 15 May. We want attention to be given to our recommendations from the last Brussels meeting, when over 40 women from the Sahel came together at the initiative of Ms. Ashton, Mr. Prodi and Ms. Puri,” said Aziza Mint Mohamed, Deputy Mayor of the city of Timbuktu in Mali.
“We hope that the final document will have the political endorsement of the Government and be supported by technical and financial partners. We are also aware of what is at stake, and of the challenges that Mali presents in the Sahel region, in Africa and in the world,” she added.
Ms. Mint Mohamed and Aïssata Lam, founder of the Youth Chamber of Commerce of Mauritania, are attending the Brussels donor conference in order to appeal to the international community and convey their recommendations, which were drafted by women’s groups and civil society during a series of consultations, supported by UN Women.
The process began with the Conference on Women’s Leadership which took place on 9 April, when over 40 women from the Sahel came to Brussels in order to draw attention to the importance of the contribution of women in conflict resolution. Once back in Mali, women met again and on 26 April they drafted the recommendations read out today, which call for:
1. For a fairer and more equitable Mali, the Malian Government and international partners must promote women’s representation in decision-making bodies, especially in elected and appointed posts. Currently, women represent only 10 per cent of parliamentarians, a long way from the critical 30 per cent threshold, and from equal representation
2. For lasting peace in Mali and in the Sahel region, promotion of women’s rights and care services for women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence, especially as a result of the conflict in Mali, is urgently needed.
3. To ensure more effective contribution to economic development, and to combat the food crisis in Mali, women’s access to resources and the economic independence of women is needed, through promoting women’s business skills and their access to markets and credit, especially in rural areas.
4. The Government and international partners must encourage women’s full participation in the conflict-resolution process, at local and national levels.
5. Improvements to the quality of public services, and also women’s access to and participation in those services, including schooling for girls, access to healthcare, justice, internal security and defence are urgently needed.
6. The inclusion of women’s priorities and strategic needs in plans and budgets is critical for reducing gender inequalities in the country. The recommendations call for 15 per cent of all support funds to be allocated to women’s specific actions.
“Women are facing complex and multiple challenges. Only through the application and implementation of all of these recommendations will we be able to face these challenges together,” concluded Ms. Mint Mohamed.
Full text of the Malian women’s declaration (PDF available in French only)
Summary of the conclusions of the Sahel conference (PDF available in French only)
Video interview with Ms. Aziza Mint Mohamed (French with English subtitles)