West Africa celebrates International Women’s Day


International Women’s Day on 8 March offered an opportunity for West African leaders and citizens to reflect on women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements, showcase the progress being made on closing the region’s gender gap and highlight persisting gender inequalities. The day was marked by a large number of gender-focused special events and activities. Ghana’s theme for this year’s celebration was: #Women Too - Press to Progress as Game Changers. In the lead-up to 8 March, the country organised a series of advocacy activities to focus on institutional and socio-cultural barriers to gender equality. “Women’s participation in governance: state of play, challenges and perspectives” was the official theme put forward by Burkina Faso. The goal of their activities was to encourage stronger female participation in political, economic and public life. Mali chose as its theme, “Women as mediators in the restoration of social cohesion in the G5 Sahel.” Malian women spoke out against the weak representation of women’s voices in the Algiers peace agreement implementation. Their activities also focused on how to protect women against domestic violence. Nigeria’s first lady Aisha Buhari launched the “Leave our daughters alone” campaign to stop abductions and other harmful practices against women. Nigeria also published its 4th annual list of the 100 most inspirational and influential women to promote as change-makers, innovators and female leaders. As part of the OECD’s March on Gender, the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD) drew attention to the living conditions of women and girls in West Africa and the persistent discrimination affecting them. It organised on 9 March a special event entitled, “Why women and girls matter in West Africa: A closer look at inequalities and social institutions.”