Gender Equality, Women’s Rights Critical To Sustainable Development

Inter Press Service: Sustainable Development in Africa Will Not Be Achieved Without Women’s Full Participation
Gina Din, founder and CEO of the Gina Din group

“…[T]he pursuit of gender equality is not just an abstract ideal, but a prerequisite for human progress. … There is need to give women power over their own bodies; the power to decide who and when to marry, how many children to give birth to and when to do so, the power to stay in school, and the opportunity to find employment. When a woman can effectively plan her family, she can plan the rest of her life. Protecting and promoting her reproductive rights … is essential to ensuring her freedom to participate more fully and equally in society. In its effort to change mindsets and include women as equal partners at the social and political table, UNFPA Kenya has become a key voice in the national discourse, engaging people across both the public and private sectors and mobilizing for more resources to be invested in broad gender equality programs. … The task at hand … is not to give women strength, but to give society new eyes to perceive the strength that they already possess in abundance” (8/8).