Launch of the EAC Gender Policy

Globally, respect for human rights, inclusivity and empowerment are fundamental
principles of humanity. The quest for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment is
critical for social, cultural and economic development processes. Harnessing the power
of women and men, boys and girls is central to maximizing equity and critically
important in achieving sustainable development.
Women in the EAC constitute a significant demographic, forming more than 50% of the
population and therefore their role in boosting social and economic development of the
region cannot be overemphasized. Gender disparities in the region continue to be
evident in a number of areas, including resource distribution; varying levels of economic
empowerment and involvement; participation in decision-making and in political
representation; access to education and training opportunities; access to adequate and
quality health services; high unemployment rates of women in the formal sector as
compared to men; rampant sexual and gender-based violence; harmful cultural
practices; and inadequate budgetary allocation for gender-specific needs; among other
notable disparities.
Thus, a gendered perspective on human rights generally, and on equality and nondiscrimination calls for a deliberate policy at the regional level that can provide an
overarching framework on gender equality, equity and Affirmative Action.
This Policy provides a framework, intended to accelerate the realization of gender
equality, fairness between men and women, non-discrimination and fundamental rights
in East Africa. The Policy framework is a tool to facilitate the advancement of East
Africa’s political and social economic integration, guarantee that gender issues are
included in the East African Community agenda, accelerate gender mainstreaming,
contribute to higher living standards and enhance the efforts exerted by the East African
people to play their rightful role in a globalizing world.
The EAC Gender Policy is by the international, regional and national legal frameworks
and will among others provide guidance on focused formulation and integration of
gender issues in programming within the region. In addition, the policy provides a
mechanism of reporting on international and regional commitments by the EAC Partner
States as a Regional Economic Community (REC).

It also takes into account the fact that policy implementation requires all stakeholders
working together and therefore brings together the different players, decision-makers,
development partners, private sector, civil society and the East African citizenry.
This being the first EAC Gender policy has stipulated a number of Development
Objectives to be pursued over its respective Plan period. Secondly, is also significantly
informed by key current and emerging regional development issues and priorities, as
well as the EAC Vision 2050 imperatives, especially given that this is the “pioneer”
Gender policy under the EAC Vision 2050.

To ensure “ownership”, “commitment” and “leadership” with regard to the Gender Policy the closely related optimum support by its various stakeholders, a participatory,
consultative and interactive approach was employed throughout the process of the
Policy formulation and development at all levels, including all the EAC Organs and
Partner States.

Download a copy of the EAC Gender Policy here

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