The decade of African women?

International Alert is supporting women in Côte d’Ivoire to actively engage in the electoral process as a means of improving their representation and role in decision-making in the country.

During a three-day workshop in Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, Alert encouraged local women to take advantage of existing legal instruments, such as the Maputo Protocol (2013) and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance (ACDEG) (2007), to advocate for fairer representation and policies.

"Our main objective from now on," said Ndeye Sow, Alert’s Senior Adviser on Gender, "is to find ways in which the ACDEG, and indeed all the other existing legal instruments, can be used to further strengthen women’s involvement in elections and, more importantly, decision-making. There are already mechanisms in place, including the African Union’s declaration of 2010–2020 as the ‘African women decade’. We just need to find ways to effectively utilise these mechanisms."

Speaking at the event, Marie M'Bounzi, Councillor in charge of humanitarian affairs at the African Union (AU) in Abidjan, stressed the importance of 2015 for all Ivoirians, as in October the country will be going to polls for the presidential election, which in 2010 was dogged by violence. "I would like to encourage all of you to work towards better representation of women in the upcoming electoral process. The AU will provide the necessary support where required."

The workshop took place from 9–11 February and was attended by over 20 civil society representatives from across the country. It is part of our ongoing collaboration with the African Union, which involves encouraging the promotion and adoption of the ACDEG as well as supporting African Union Liaison Offices to deliver on their specific mandates.

You can find out more about our work with the African Union here.