Female leadership and participation not only conveys key information about women and girls and their ability to make choices about their lives and act on them. They also positively correlate with more inclusive governance and better economic outcomes. Where women in elected offices have reached critical mass, they have often passed laws and authorized spending that boost inclusive growth and advance efforts to end poverty. This view was reiterated during the closing ceremony of the WIP Summit 2015, on 25 March, held at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
More than 400 international female Parliamentarians made some very crucial deliberations, which they agreed to ensure its implementation in their respective countries. Some of the deliberations include: the need for strong advocacy to implement policies to reduce the gender gap across the world, the socio-economic and political empowerment of women, build strong networks of mentorship programs for the younger girls and make education a priority to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all particularly to the girl child.
The participants of the WIP Summit have also signed a call for action to speed up the changes to achieve full equality. This Call to Action is an initiative from UN Women and the Government of Chile that focuses on three specific actions: Renewed political commitment to close remaining gaps and fully implement the 12 critical areas of the Beijing Platform for Action by 2020; the empowerment of women, the realization of human rights of women and girls, and the expiry of gender inequality by 2030; and an end to the funding gap on gender equality, and the matching of commitments with the means of implementation.
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), during the farewell lunch, immensely thanked all the women as well as the men that participated to ensure the successful holding of the WIP Summit. “Women are not ‘micro’ anymore, women need to be financially empowered and fully involved in the business arena. No more child marriage, Women and girls must have access to education, vocational training and skills to enrich them in all sphere of life” underlined Dr. Dlamini Zuma, adding that “women should be considered as part of the society and not on the margin of the society”.
Silvana Koch-Mehrin, founder of WIP and former Vice-President of the European Parliament, urged all members to take back home the outcome of the fruitful exchanges of best practices and ensure that they are implemented and included into their national policies with the view to empower more women. “When more women are empowered, we are all liberated, ” she highlighted in her conclusion.