On international Day in Bissau, women in unison claim brighter future

Marking the International Women’s Day (WD) in Bissau, women from all origins, status, creeds and crafts called for empowerment and more inclusion in the decision-making process at all levels in the country.

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15 Mar 2017

On international Day in Bissau, women in unison claim brighter future

After a week of debates and workshops on the role and the importance of women in the society, the culmination was on 8 March in downtown with a civil march-past on city center streets attended by more than 500 orange-dressed women raising, messaging banners, placards and self-made products.

The official ceremony was presided over by the first Lady RosaVaz and attended by national authorities, the UN family headed by the Resident Coordinator, international partners, civil society organizations and hundreds of women.

The women took the opportunity to display what they do and ask for better working conditions: in the hospitals, in the farms in the security forces. Parading in front of the official tribune, women’s association showed that from the public administration to the fields women are a good part of the workforce that moves the country forward.

The first Lady Rosa Vaz quoted Amilcar cabral to remind everyone that Guinea-Bissau would not even become a country without women participation. “I defend that no society can properly develop if half of it is excluded”.

The message of the UN Secretary was read by Aygan Kossi,  WHO representative and currently the Resident Coordinator in Guinea-Bissau, in a ceremony also attended by Unicef, WHO, WFP, UNIOGBIS and where the female UN police officers marched with their counterparts . The president of the Institute for Women and Children handed over the National Policy for Gender and respective plan of action to which the Minister promised to give political backing for its implementation.

The varied, colorful and well synchronized procession that occurred some minutes before featured workers of public and private sectors, security and defense forces, including UNIOGBIS and ECOMIB female police officers, farmers, vendors…

The UN Women representative, Laetitia Kazire  and the Minister Carlos de Barros have presided over a ribbon cutting event at the ministry to mark the opening of the Gender Bureau at the Ministry. This bureau will enable better gender mainstreaming and better donor coordination.

“Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030” was this year’s theme of the IWD.

The idea of this theme is to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

In his meessage, the UN Secretary-general, António Guterres, noted that “Women’s rights are human rights. But in these troubled times, as our world becomes more unpredictable and chaotic, the rights of women and girls are being reduced, restricted and reversed.

Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential.”

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.