ADDIS ABABA-- The third meeting of the African Union's Specialized Technical Committee on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment opened here Thursday with Ethiopia's Women and Children Affairs Minister Yalem Tesfay saying the government has undertaken a number of efforts to address gender equality issues in the country.

It has ratified or adopted relevant international instruments, designed national instruments, and established machinery to address gender issues as women in Ethiopia, like their sisters in other African countries, had been in disadvantageous positions compared with men, she added.

The Minister pointed out that all member states of the African Union had their own policies, strategies and structural arrangements to ensure the equal participation and benefits of women.

Besides individual efforts made by governments, the obstacles hindering women from empowerment and exercising their rights equally with their counterparts call for a close partnership and integrated effort among countries, Yalem said.

She called on all African countries to work diligently with equal commitment and dedication to the implementation of achieving the strategy and leaving no one behind.

AU Commission Chairperson Mousa Faki Mahamat congratulated the 40 member states which have ratified the Maputo Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, called other countries to ratify it.

Mahamat added that the AU will hold a high-level panel on the role of women in the fight against corruption to realize the vision of integrating 30 per cent of women in the continent's governing bodies and anti-corruption structures by the end of 2018.

Representatives of 45 African countries, including 18 ministers, are in attendance of the two-day meeting here.


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