Hon. Senator Hon. Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira addressing delegates on International Women’s Day 2023 in Midrand, South Africa

“Women’s rights are human rights,” said the PAP President at the Pan-African Parliament’s International Women’s Day commemoration held under the theme ‘For an Inclusive Digital World: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’.

The high-level event brought together members of African Parliaments, representatives from organs of the Union and United Nations organizations, members of the Diplomatic Corps as well as, entrepreneurs and activists in presentations and discussions on the relevant role of women and all stakeholders in improving access to digital tools.

The PAP President noted with concern the underrepresentation of women in technology despite efforts invested in advancing women’s participation in the economy.  “While this is a day to celebrate achievements and progress, it is also a day for all of us to take stock of what must still be done to achieve equal rights and equal opportunities for women. I must admit that the theme for this year ‘For An Inclusive Digital World: Innovation and Technologies for Gender Equality,’ refocuses our attention on one of the critical areas in which women are sorely underrepresented,” he said.

According to recent research figures, women are far less likely to graduate with a STEM degree or enter a career in STEM compared to their male counterparts. African women are even less likely to find the encouragement they need to pursue STEM careers as a result of a patriarchal system that believes the woman’s place is in the home.

“In our quest for accelerated economic development, especially in the wake of the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of our Member States have adopted Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), as a catalytic driving factor in post-COVID economic recovery”, said the PAP President.

Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira expressed PAP’s drive to change this gloomy narrative on the continent, and to continuously urge member states in addressing gender disparities that exist in STEM fields. “Sadly, one of the major criticisms of STEM has to do with the gender disparity in students who graduate with STEM degrees and enter careers related to these fields,” he said.

As the continent’s legislative body, PAP continues to play its part to advocate for the ratification, domestication, and implementation of African Union Protocols on women’s rights. Additionally, since its inception, PAP has embarked on deliberate programs earmarked to protect women’s rights and enhance gender equality and affirmative action for women across Africa.

To harness the enormous potential for constructive engagement of African women in Africa’s development agenda, the PAP launched the Annual Women’s Conference held every October during the Plenary Session.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *