President of the Federal National Council United Arab Emirates Rt. Hon. Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi has applauded the role African women have played in the peace initiatives happening in the continent.
Addressing a women’s caucus from the sidelines at the opening of the 5th parliament of the Pan-African Parliament, Al Qubaisi marveled at how African women have confronted all other hardships yet remaining steadfast in their participation in peace-keeping initiatives in the continent.
“African women have been a source of inspiration to women in the world and more particularly to women in the United Arab Emirates as they have been able to withstand all other hardships associated with being a woman to play a critical role in the peace efforts initiated by the continent,” she said.
Most African countries are signatories of numerous protocols that encourage gender equality in politics, yet analysts say more still needs to be done to implement these protocols and ensure women are not sidelined.
Although women in the region and beyond are breaking the glass ceiling in politics as evidenced by the likes of former Malawian president Joyce Banda and other women who have managed to occupy important positions in national governments and multilateral organisations, statistics indicate that at least one-fifth of the seats in parliaments are occupied by women worldwide.
The continued sidelining of African women is attributed to the result of pervasive patriarchal biases that exist in the African society.
Hon. Dr Al Qubaisi wishes her presence at the Pan-African Parliament to be a motivating factor not only to women but also to men who occupy strategic positions in the society.
“We see the will power to undermine our efforts by males even in developed countries but I hope my presence in the Pan-African Parliament may motivate both males and females,” she said.
Meanwhile, speakers in their solidarity messages reiterated the need for Pan-African Parliament to discover why the continent has so many refugees so as to find lasting solutions which are in tandem with this year’s theme of “the year of refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.
The theme implores leaders of the continent to reflect on what they could do for refugees and the internally displaced persons of the continent.