African Development Bank’s progress on women’s issues

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The African Development Bank (AfDB)-> Group has made tremendous progress on gender issues over the last three years and enhanced the status of women within the institution, in particular, and Africa in general, a senior of ficial has said.

The Bank’s Vice President for Finance, Thierry de Longuemar, said in Tunis on Saturday during the celebration of International Women’s Day that the new “gender- c ompliant” culture began in 2006, with a Bank Group Presidential Directive on the protection of women against all forms of sexual harassment.

The Directive also emphasized the need to protect all victims of sexual harassment and to respect their dignity, AfDB said in a statement received in Accra on Monday.

“Since 2006, and for the first time in its 44-year history, 33% of newly employed staff are women while two of the Vice Presidencies in the Bank Group are managed by women. In addition, the institution’s human resources strategy approved in 2007 focuses on staff diversity, especially with regard to gender,” said de Long u emar, who represented the AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka.

“This year, the Bank commits to take further measures to enhance our impact in this regard. This would include increased sensitization and intensive training to ensure that we are all conversant and fully appreciate the concept of gender mainstreaming in all our operations,” de Longuemar said.

For her part, Corporate Services Vice President, Arunma Oteh, highlighted a numb er of policy decisions and rules approved by the Bank Group toward improving the working condition of its female staff, in the belief that gender equality remained paramount in efforts aimed at achieving sustainable development in Africa.

“We recognize that we must walk or talk as donors seek the preferred channeled of funds for Africa’s development. It is for this reason that under the leadership of the President (Mr. Kaberuka), we have taken a variety of concrete actions to position the Bank as a role model in enhancing gender equality in the Bank,” she said.

Apart from being in charge of two of the five vice presidencies in the Bank Group, the number of women in senior positions had risen two-fold from 11% to 21% of the institution’s staff complement in the past two years while the number of fem a le resident representatives rose from zero to six, she said.

For similar reasons, the Bank has revamped its young professionals program, maki ng it possible to bring on board the highest number of young professionals ever, half of them women. Panapress.

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