Gender equality and empowerment of African women to be discussed at Tokyo International Conference

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Women in rural areas of Darfur [UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran]

The importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women in driving development in Africa will be the focus of a high-level panel moderated by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) on Sunday.

UNDP says the panel will focus on best practices in addressing such challenges as maternal health, food security, sexual violence and barriers to women's economic, legal and political empowerment, as well as to their participation in peace building.

UNDP points out that given women's role in agriculture – they are estimated to account for nearly 50 percent of the agricultural labor force in sub-Saharan Africa, and higher in some countries — as well as their burden of gathering natural resources for fuel and sustenance, gender considerations are also critical to environmental and energy policies, including responses to climate change.

Ms. Clark says "One of the most important steps countries can take to drive progress is to ensure and improve the political, economic and social rights and opportunities of women", adding that "Africa has achieved notable economic growth in recent years. To be sustained, that growth must be inclusive, and translate into concrete improvements in the lives of women, men and children".

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’13″

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