Monday, October 29, 2012

Conference in Equatorial Guinea Promotes Women's Development and Integration in Society

President Obiang highlights importance of women during Regional Conference of the Network of Women Parliamentarians of Central Africa and Europe 

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea called for an improvement in women’s rights during the Regional Conference of the Network of Women Parliamentarians of Central Africa and Europe last week at the Sipopo Conference Center.

During the inauguration ceremony on October 24, President Obiang stated that women were vital members of society who significantly contribute to the country’s growth and development. Since 1979, the government has worked to integrate women into society by improving their rights and addressing issues women faced within the region, said Obiang. However, “the underdevelopment suffered by the country did not offer any opportunity for self-realization of individuals, much less socially marginalized women,” he continued.

President Obiang highlighted the recent improvement in the status of women – mentioning the number of women who now hold senior positions in the government and the private sector. He also acknowledged that despite the improvement, there are still a number of issues women face in the country that need to be addressed. For example, the level of professional training for men and women still remains unequal.

Additional speakers included female leaders such as the Minister of Education and Science, Maria del Carmen Ekoro, and Maria Teresa Avoro, Dean of the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE), who discussed ways to improve education and employment opportunities for women. UNICEF Communications Officer Felipe Esono Krohnert also spoke during the conference, addressing female literacy, which he said is one of the main indicators that make women more vulnerable.

Attendees helped bring the conference to a close the following day by collaborating on the development of 2013 initiatives to improve women’s rights and the establishment of training centers specifically geared toward women.

Equatorial Guinea has hosted a number of programs recently to promote the progress of social welfare domestically and elsewhere in Africa. Earlier this month, the government sponsored an International Leadership Conference that focused on education as well as health and economic improvement.