Women constitute over 52% of the African population and contribute significantly to the development of the continent. They remain the backbone of the agriculturalsector, key players in the service industry, undisputed drivers of the informal sector and home economy. However, they rarely enjoy access to basic services or equal opportunities, and are often excluded from major decision-making processes. NEPAD’s gender Policy commitments are guided by the African Union Gender Policy adopted in 2009.
The policy commitments are overarching and anchored on the pillars of AU Organs, RECs and member states' institutional policy statements, strategic plans, roadmaps and action plans for achieving gender equality and women's empowerment targets in eight areas as follows: (i) Creating an enabling and a stable political environment; (ii) Legal protection actions against discrimination for ensuring gender equality; (iii) Mobilisation of different players for gender equality in Africa; (iv) Rationalisation and harmonisation of RECs' gender policies and programmes; (v) Resource mobilisation; (vi) Capacity building for gender mainstreaming; (vii) Gender mainstreaming in all sectors and (viii) Maintaining peace, security, the settlement of conflicts and reconstruction.
To address the emerging Gender challenge, the Secretariat has developed to key initiatives (i) Young Leaders Initiative and (ii) Economic Empowerment program.
Young Leaders Initiative
The young leader’s initiative is a mentorship program that will be geared at promoting gender mainstreaming in talent management particularly among the key NPoA implementers. In this regard the Secretariat will work with the responsible Gender Commissions, the Ministry of State for Public Service, the Office of the Prime Minister and other actors engaged in “growing our leaders” program. The focus will be to initiate and accelerate gender mainstreaming in institutions, legal frame-works, policies, programmes, strategic frameworks and plans, human resources and performance management systems, resource allocation and decision-making processes at all levels; and to advocate the promotion of a gender responsive environment and practices and the enforcement of human rights, gender equality and women's empowerment commitments made at international, continental, regional and member states level.
Economic Empowerment Initiative
This initiative is targeted at contributing to the eradication of poverty and gender sensitive economic empowerment through financial and technical assistance to projects that support gender equality and economic, political and social empowerment. In undertaking the program the secretariat will collaborate with existing continental initiatives such as NEPAD’s Spanish Fund for Women Empowerment, national economic empowerment initiatives such as the Women’s Enterprise Fund the Youth Enterprise Development Fund.