Members of Cameroon’s National Assembly commit to promote gender mainstreaming in legislation

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

 

A cross section of participants attending the advocacy meeting. Photo credit: ELECAM
A cross section of participants attending the advocacy meeting. Photo credit: ELECAM

20 parliamentarians, members of the Laws commission of the National Assembly in Cameroon have committed to promote gender mainstreaming in functioning of the law commission of the National Assembly. This commitment was made during an advocacy meeting organized on Tuesday, 22 October 2019 by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family (MINPROFF) and Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) with the support of UN Women in line with the government’s decision to institutionalize gender. The advocacy meeting sought to draw the attention of members of the laws commission that no law or policy is gender neutral thus highlighting the urgency to mainstream Gender in all laws in favor of promoting human rights and gender equality.

During her opening address, Mme Abena Ondoa Marie Therese, Minister of Women Empowerment and the Family recalled the key pillars of the National Gender Policy, strategic framework for gender mainstreaming in Cameroon. “Taking gender into account means to ensure that the bills submitted to you are positively and significantly impacting the policies put in place to effectively influence the orientations and strategic choices defined” Minister Abena Ondoa explained. She went on to emphasize that bills should be examined to ensure women are not penalized, forgotten or left behind.

A cross section of participants attending the advocacy meeting. Photo credit: ELECAM
A cross section of participants attending the advocacy meeting. Photo credit: ELECAM

On his part, M. Eric Essousse, Director of ELECAM enunciated the dispositions of the 2012 electoral law relative to gender mainstreaming in lists of candidates for elections and acknowledged the progress made regarding women’s representation in elected offices. “This development although positive and widely commended by all stakeholders, deserves in my opinion to be strengthened. It is necessary to continue to work for better representation of women in bodies with elective positions so that they bring their creative genius to the harmonious evolution of society”

Ms Hind Jalal, Deputy Representative of UN Women Cameroon during her opening remarks at the meeting recalled the mandate and activities of UN Women in view of the promotion of women's leadership and political participation. “The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women defends their right to participate in public life and the Beijing Program of Action calls for the removal of barriers to equitable participation. UN Women is focusing, among other things, on monitoring the progress made by states towards gender equality in the proportion of parliamentary seats held by women. Our real challenge today is to find the most appropriate strategies to ensure that women have a fair voice in public and political institutions” Ms Hind added.

Family picture of Minister Abena Ondoa (center) and other participants attending the advocacy meeting.
Family picture of Minister Abena Ondoa (centre) and other participants attending the advocacy meeting. Photo credit: ELECAM

At the end of the advocacy meeting the members of parliament made 13 resolutions to promote gender equality and women participation in leadership. Some of the key resolutions include: increase advocacy of other members of parliament to promote gender equality and greater representation in commissions; an assessment of the National Gender Policy to appreciate the effectiveness of gender mainstreaming in the budget of public administration; ensure the integration universal principles relative to the protection of rights of women and girls into national legislations; and engaged to commit as HeForShe champions.