The year 1995 was a turning point for the women’s movement in Africa and the world at large with the unanimous adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) by 189 countries. This agenda has been defined as the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights and the key global policy document with historic commitments to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. The agenda is one of the few women’s rights instruments that has received high praise for ushering in enormous improvements in the lives of women and girls across the globe. More women and girls than at any previous point in time serve in political offices, are protected by laws and policies against violence against women and live under constitutions that guarantee gender equality and equity.
Whereas these leading-edge advancements to improve the political, economic and social well-being of women and girls must be celebrated, there remains more ground to break. Some countries have taken a couple of steps back, away from advancing women’s rights in all dimensions of life like the BPfA envisioned. Women continue to earn less than men and are more likely to work in poor quality jobs. A third of the world’s women are said to have suffered a form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime while an estimated 800 women die in childbirth everyday due to gaps in reproductive rights and health care. In Africa, women continue to be treated as second class citizens and the female Heads of State count remains at four (4).
The commemoration of Beijing+25 in 2020 provides an opportunity to comprehensively assess the current gains and challenges in the implementation of the agenda as well as scale up progress to achieve all-round autonomy for half of the world’s population. It is against this backdrop that Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) with support from the UN Women East and Southern African Regional Office is inviting African women to harness the power of the Beijing platform to imagine a world where each woman and girl can exercise their freedoms, choices and enjoy all their rights by assessing the changes over the last 25 years in the pursuit of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls from a feminist perspective.
We are seeking critical analyses that examine progress, identify challenges and seek better ways to fulfill promises made in the Beijing Platform for Action specific to the African continent. As a result of this process, African women will contribute to translating the Platform for Action’s promises into concrete changes in individual countries by holding African governments accountable and making recommendations for accelerating the promise to achieve human rights for women and girls.
We encourage African writers from or working across the region to submit critical analyses and referenced articles (2000-2500 words); case studies (2000 words), opinion pieces (1500-2000 words); poems; photo essays; cartoons; and illustrations. Submissions can be on any one of the 12 key areas for urgent action to realize greater equality and opportunities for women and girls flagged by the Beijing Platform of Action. These are:
- Women and poverty
- Education and training of women
- Women and health
- Violence against women
- Women and armed conflict
- Women and the economy
- Women in power and decision-making
- Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women
- Human rights of women
- Women and the media
- Women and the environment
- The girl-child
- The deadline for submission has been extended to Friday 22nd November 2019.
- Pieces should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Written submissions should be single spaced in Times New Roman 12 point
- All work will be checked for plagiarism and detection of the same will lead to disqualification. APA is the recommended reference format.
- All submissions should be in English. The author(s) should indicate personal full contact details and include a brief biographical note.