Global progress towards equality for women and girls was assessed at an international conference in Trinity College Dublin which was held to mark the seventh annual Africa Day celebration.
Organised by Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) the conference, Inspiring Change: Empowering Women’s Futures in Africa, heard from leading change-makers who are transforming the landscape of gender equality in Africa and globally. They assessed the progress of the advancement of women’s rights in the last two decades.
2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration which saw 189 governments make historic commitments to achieving women’s rights, which today remain a powerful source of guidance and inspiration. This conference assessed how movement towards equality for women and girls has progressed globally in the last 20 years. Expert speakers also looked at what barriers to female empowerment and gender equality still persist and discussed how these can be overcome.
At the event, award-winning actress Bikiya Graham-Douglas performed ‘WAIT’ by British Playwright Oladipo Agboluaje. One of the key note speakers was Minna Salami, the award-winning blogger also known as Ms Afropolitan, who focused on the challenges and opportunities facing African women today and contemporary artistic African feminist expression.
Faiza Jama Mohamed, Nairobi Office Director, Equality Now, discussed the journey to equality and how African women are taking up the remaining challenges, which include “violence against women, land access, control and ownership, equality in decision-making, greater attention to the care economy and sexual and reproductive health rights”. She argued that change can be fast-tracked through collective action and solidarity.
Lilian O. Ajayi, Executive Director of Global Connections For Women Foundation presented on ‘The Status of Women and Girls in Africa and the Rest of the World’. The year 2015, according to Ms Ajayi, marks a critical junction to further ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment programmes remain at the forefront of all global development initiatives as as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals concludes and the Sustainable Development Goals are realised with a more Gender Focused Agenda.
“Today, new commitments to reverse the trend of gender inequality extends beyond world leaders — as private individuals, not-for-profit entities, and corporations have also ignited their global commitment to women empowerment—and with promising results and epic resolutions. My hope is that my presentation on Africa Day inspires members of the audience in Ireland to ‘Lean In’ and join the global efforts of reversing the trend of Gender Inequality in their country and the rest of the world.”
The conference, which was organised with the support of the African Embassies accredited to Ireland, also heard from Heydi Foster-Breslin, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commissioner and Anas Khales, the Ambassador of Morocco and Dean of the African Ambassadors to Ireland.
The event was chaired by Professor Martina Hennessy, Chair of TIDI and Associate Dean of Research, who commented: “The Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI), with the support of the African Embassies accredited to the Republic of Ireland are delighted to collaborate on this conference to mark Africa Day 2015. This conference will look at key issues in gender; on how movements towards equality for women and girls has progressed globally, what the barriers are to female empowerment and gender equality and how can they be overcome and what opportunities exist in 2015 to progress the gender equality platform.”
- TheJournal.ie, Monday 25th, May, 2015, To shape a fairer Africa in the next 50 years, we must listen to women, by Dr Gillian Wylie
- Interview with Dr Gillian Wylie on Dublin South FM, Tuesday, May 26th, 2015