Delegates attending the Commonwealth Women’s Forum in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Monday urged collective efforts to ensure gender equality across countries.
“A lot more needs to be done to ensure that women and girls are not left behind,” Patricia Scotland, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, told more than 500 delegates from around the Commonwealth countries who included leaders from civil society, youth, activists, academics, policy experts and philanthropists.
Scotland underscored the need for collaboration among nations in order to transform the future of the girls and women across 54 nations of the Commonwealth association. She cited Rwanda’s example as worth emulating for deliberately taking measures to bring women on board.
The two-day forum held under the theme “Delivering a Common Future: Transforming for Gender Equality” is aimed at finding better ways of involving women and girls in leadership and in the development process.
The Commonwealth is working together through the exchange of knowledge and information, to transform the lives of millions of people — women and girls, men and boys, in their families and communities, said Scotland.
“When I became Secretary General in 2016, I pledged that we would put the wealth back into the common but now I know we were determined to put the common back into wealth and that common demands that women should be at the table,” she said.
“Gender empowerment and inclusiveness are central to that mission. Gender equality is at the very heart of the Commonwealth’s collective goals of social, and economic development,” she added.
The world today is faced with a multitude of crises, which only serve to further widen the gender gap and deepen the economic divide, adding on the challenges women and girls were already facing, Rwanda’ First Lady Jeannette Kagame said while opening the forum.
She noted that the situation has already been exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, which has driven inflation, disrupted trade and led to an increase in the cost of debt.
“The Women’s Forum is happening at the crossroads of critical economic and social change, where the young woman, particularly in tech and innovation, may just be that game changer that is needed, provided that the nurturing environment, resources and support is available,” she said.
The forum featured different sessions such as “Women in Leadership: Beyond Numbers” which focused on women playing a meaningful role in leadership and ensuring high levels of women’s representation in decision making, among other areas.
“Every man, woman and child benefits when everybody has equal opportunities. And sadly across the world at the moment, women are missing out — and therefore the world is missing out,” said Cherie Blair CBE, Founder and Chair of Omnia Strategy and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.
Delegates at the Commonwealth Women’s Forum discussed solutions to address pressing challenges affecting women and girls across the Commonwealth and to ensure member countries have robust policies and programs to meet gender equality targets by 2030.
The forum is one of a series of events taking place on the first day of the 26th edition of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which runs from June 20 to 25.
Heads of governments from 54 Commonwealth countries are expected to discuss ways how the contemporary Commonwealth can transform societies.
SOURCE: Xinhua News Agency