UN Women Executive Director kicks off the 16 Days campaign with the launch of HeForShe in Cote d’Ivoire


UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, begins today a visit to Cote d’Ivoire in the context of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.

During the 16 days, hundreds of events will bolster efforts to end a pandemic that impacts one in three women worldwide. In Cote d’Ivoire, the 16 Days will be marked with the launch of the HeForShe global solidarity movement in the country. HeForShe is about challenging the status quo and supporting transformative change for women, men, boys and girls.  The President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, is expected to announce his formal commitment to become an advocate and help mobilize men in Côte d'Ivoire to join the movement too.

Violence against women and girls in the country is rising due to the advent of the socio-political crisis from September 2002 to April 2011. For instance, the National Coordination for Combating Gender-Based Violence reported 865 cases of violence in the first quarter of 2013, including 261 rapes. In addition, 33 per cent of rapes in the country are committed on minors aged 10 to 18 years.

The visit will also be an opportunity to shine a light on the importance of boosting women’s economic empowerment, as a way to break the cycle of violence and build resilience. The Executive Director will visit a UN Women project aiming to empower women farmers and helping them adapt to challenges posed by climate change, financed by the Government of Japan. The project provides women with trainings to improve the quality of  shea butter that they produce, and support the processing and marketing of the product to position women farmers higher in the value chain. In collaboration with the Ministry of Women, UN Women's support to the shea sector has benefitted more than 300 women across 12 cooperatives and 12 small and medium enterprises.

The Executive Director’s visit will also coincide with the inauguration of the Centre of Women Entrepreneurs of Cote d'Ivoire. This centre stimulates women's entrepreneurship and promotes economic empowerment of women. Women beneficiaries will be trained to better manage their businesses, get greater economic benefit from their activities, and increase their visibility in the national, regional and international economic scene.

A number of bilateral meetings with ggovernment officials will also take place, including Presidente Ouattara; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcel Amon-Tanoh; the Minister of Women, Child Protection and Solidarity, Mariatou Koné; President of the National Assembly, Guillaume Soro; and the Prime Minister and Minister of Budget, Amadou Gon Coulibaly Marcel Amon-Tanoh.  Discussions will focus on the collaboration between the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and UN Women on issues of common interest in view of supporting the country’s efforts to advance the gender equality agenda.