EAC gets gen­der pol­icy

The East African - - NEWS - By PATTY MAGUBIRA Special Cor­re­spon­dent

GEN­DER IN­EQUAL­I­TIES have been blamed for the slow­down in the East African Com­mu­nity in­te­gra­tion process.

The EAC Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­eral responsible for pro­duc­tive and so­cial sec­tors Christophe Bazi­vamo said that gen­der in­equal­ity pre­vents women from con­tribut­ing ef­fec­tively to devel­op­ment.

“There is poor rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women in em­ploy­ment and in pol­i­tics,” he said dur­ing the pro­mul­ga­tion of the EAC Gen­der Pol­icy in Arusha re­cently. “If women had equal ac­cess to pro­duc­tion re­sources as men, they would in­crease yields on their farms by 20 to 30 per cent,” said Dr Kirsten Focken, the clus­ter co-or­di­na­tor for Ger­man devel­op­ment sup­port to the EAC through GIZ.

Last year, Eala passed the EAC Gen­der Equal­ity and Eq­uity Bill to boost ob­ser­vance and prac­tice of gen­der equal­ity in the re­gion. Of the 64 re­gional House mem­bers, 25 are women. The EAC Gen­der Pol­icy iden­ti­fies 14 key pri­or­ity ac­tions that it be­lieves will also pro­mote gen­der equal­ity and eq­uity within laws, poli­cies, programmes and projects of the com­mu­nity, if ap­plied.

The ac­tions are meant to ad­dress gen­der concerns in gov­er­nance and par­tic­i­pa­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, health and HIV and Aids, gen­der-based violence, en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate change, and en­ergy. Other concerns are in agri­cul­ture, food se­cu­rity and nu­tri­tion; trade and eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment; se­cu­rity, peace build­ing and con­flict res­o­lu­tion; min­ing and ex­trac­tive in­dus­tries; ac­cess to safe wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion and hous­ing and mi­gra­tion.

“In­se­cure land rights re­duce women’s abil­ity to pledge the land as col­lat­eral for loans,” said Dr Focken, adding that fe­male farm­ers were less likely to in­vest in their land or to adopt ef­fi­cient agri­cul­tural prac­tices if they were un­cer­tain of reap­ing the ben­e­fits in the long term.

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