On this International Women’s day, we join with the world to celebrate all women. We recognize and acknowledge the enormous and invaluable contributions they make and roles they play in the sustenance and advancement of life in every society. Today, we especially celebrate women on the continent of Africa without whom the continent would not be what it is. We celebrate the women who work hard and take initiative to contribute to the fight for progress and development on the continent. We are grateful to the many women who stand for the rights and dignity of Africans, women who resist human abuse in a variety of forms, even to giving up their lives in the process, women who work to end war and conflict, women who risk their lives to find nourishments for families in conflict areas and war torn zone; women who continue to work to promote the common good of all. The role of women in development in Africa cannot be overstated.
In the agricultural sector in Africa, majority of the labor comes from women. In Uganda for example, women contribute about 56% in the crop production sector according to data from the World Bank. In addition to having also given birth to every person that exists, women are making a huge difference and positively impacting the lives of many in other sectors: they are doctors, nurses, traders, lawyers, teachers, peacekeepers, and more especially, they nurture from birth.
Unfortunately however, in spite of all the great contributions that women make on the continent, they are still victims of many injustices. Chief among them are sex trafficking, lack of quality maternal health and female genital mutilation. The girl-child education is still a problem in some parts of the continent where some families prefer to educate their sons and not their daughters. Many women in war torn and conflict ridden areas are easily treated as objects by armed militias, subjected to torture, rape and even death. On the issue of maternal health, there are very few if any investments being made towards ensuring good maternal health for pregnant women across the continent. Currently, quality maternal health service is restricted to a select few rich who can afford it. We strongly hold the belief that even one pregnant woman’s death as a result of lack of good maternal health is far too many and that a solution is long overdue. Today we raise our voices high, and increase the tone of our demand from African leaders to invest in maternal health and in the education of the girl-child.
As we remember and celebrate women and all their wonderful achievements, let us not forget the many issues and injustices that they continue to suffer. Let us stand together, men and women from every continent to work for women’s empowerment and rights because our world and Africa in particular will not reach its highest potential without women’s unambiguous and indubitable contributions. With persistence, hard work and respect for human life, we can change the narrative of inequality, injustice and oppression of the many women all over the world.
This page was originally posted on www.afjn.org