All the contributions in the publication point to an important truth: Women activists and gender equality advocates must engage the UN constructively in its current reform efforts to become even more accountable and stay a stalwart ally in the global promotion of women’s rights. But the ongoing reform efforts are far from being enough.
What are best practices in the complex process of promoting gender equality and the advancement of women envisioned in key human rights instruments, or in significant intergovernmental agreements like the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action?
In the East and Horn of Africa, where agricultural trade remains the mainstay of region’s economies, women’s expertise in local agriculture, trade and marketing is still being undermined by international trade agreements, which largely ignore the socio-environmental issues facing these local farmers and their communities.
During the first half of the year 2003, The Gender Forum held a series of discussions on the experiences of women in the last general elections, also focusing on how far women have come in engaging in politics. Significant questions were raised as to why should women be involved in electoral politics, what are their challenges and what lessons can be carried forward to improve the quality of women engagement in politics?
The workshop reviewed, and focused on how civil societies working in the area of gender in Kenya, could be involved in, and contribute to the processes and mechanisms of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), in the eradication of poverty.
This was a pertinent and topical subject, as Kenya underwent the first significant review of its constitution post-independence. This publication tackled a wide array of subjects and issues, ranging from a critique of the constitutional separation of powers from a gender perspective, to an examination of reproductive rights from a constitutional stand-point.
As the 21st Century approached, there were various multi-faceted efforts geared towards a critical review of development in Africa. In the spirit of Africa taking ownership and responsibility for her development, there was ambition and optimism expressed in the common question “can Africa claim the 21st Century?”
Factors that determine full and active participation in constitution making in many African countries include the traditional set-up, customary laws and practices, modernity and religious factors. In some instances, customary law and religious beliefs override the Constitution.