The African Union has declared 2015 the year of “Women’s empowerment”, and made gender central to its 24 th annual summit taking place this month. Whether this year can be one of ground-breaking transformation for African women depends on how we seize the opportunity it presents. It is an important year, not only because the African Union has baptized this year “The year of Women’s empowerment”; this year we see the end of the Millennium Development Goals and the launch of the post-2015 development agenda. Crucially, this year also marks the 20 th anniversary of the 4 th World conference on Women, where the world agreed the Beijing Platform for Action, recognized at the time as “the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights”; an ambitious expression of aspiration that no country in the world has fully realized. Perhaps to those outside the circuit of conferences, agendas and resolutions, these global and regional processes may seem like hot air. After all, despite the ambitious aspirations of both the MDGs and Beijing platforms, women are still, globally, not able to fully realize the potential they are capable of.
But we would be wrong to despair; the path to gender […]