African Women and Girls at the Grassroots - Their say on their World Post 2015
As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end and negotiations for a new development framework progress, a firm shift in development models is needed. This must go beyond thinking of women’s vulnerability and instead focus on women’s contribution to African economic and social transformation. In the discussions with women, they consistently recognised that achievements and advancements had been made towards gender equality and empowerment over the past 15 years. In particular, they highlighted the great strides made in women’s participation in leadership and in the legal and policy arenas in favour of gender equality and women’s empowerment across the continent. This report has attempted to give voice to grassroots women in the complex political and consensus building process that will result in the post-2015 development framework. In doing this ACORD aims to ensure that women’s contributions form the basis of the recommendations and resolutions that will be adopted on gender equality and women’s empowerment. While a number of the grassroots voices portray women as victims, other voices captured herein espouse women’s agency. For ACORD, this balance is very important in the debate on women’s empowerment. The reality of many grassroots women is indeed that of inhibited freedoms. Conceptually, our argument is that women’s demonstrated capacities to lead and make decisions is the basis on which they should be supported as power-dispensers and decision makers at all levels.