Although the United Nations and the African Union have designated 2010 – 2020 the African Women’s Decade (AWD), not many people in the African Diaspora know about it.

This is a shame because the intention of the AWD is to involve people at grassroots, regional and national levels and there is no authoritative group dictating the methodology. Rather anyone, male or female, black or white, based in Africa or not, can be a part of the collective effort.

The AWD is supported by the Maputo protocol and has ten main emphases: fighting poverty and promoting economic empowerment of women and entrepreneurship; agriculture and food security; health, maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS; education, science and technology; environment, climate change and sustainable development; peace and security and violence against women; governance and legal protection; finance and gender budgeting; women in decision making; and young women’s movement.

Apart from the ten themes mentioned above, the AWD is also an opportunity to strengthen transnational ties in the work on women’s social, political, economic and cultural empowerment and it’s a useful platform through which dialogue can be executed. At Make Every Women Count, a space dedicated to the AWD, research scientist and UK based activist, Marie Claire Faray-Kele says:

African Women’s Decade is a promise for our rights so we Can and we Should all act individually in our own lives and collectively in our society by deconstructing retrograde patriarchy and positively transforming masculinity to end all form of gender-based discrimination and violence.”

Did you know about the African Women’s Decade? Many people don’t because mainstream media has barely mentioned this remarkable landmark for Africa and African Diaspora women. Nevertheless, there are many reasons why we need to be aware of it. Most importantly, the people responsible for making the AWD a success are all of us, me and you. It is in our interest to raise awareness about it, so that more people can become involved, and so that the hard work of its founders won’t be in vain.

Simply put, the AWD is a chance to tell our stories, make them visible, and shape our future.

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