NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
African governments should prioritize enactment
of punitive legislation and public awareness in order to
eradicate the scourge of violence against women and girls, an
African Union official said on Thursday.
Gumbonzvanda, the AU Goodwill Ambassador on ending child
marriage, said that enlightened policies and legislation
alongside economic empowerment is key to end discrimination and
violence targeting the female gender.
“We need a new
roadmap to strengthen our response to gender based violence that
is still rampant in our communities,” Nyaradzayi said.
“Law enforcement is
a good deterrent measure but communities must be prevailed upon
to discard archaic cultural practices that sanction violence
against women and girls,” she added.
Nyaradzayi spoke at
the Africa youth conference in Nairobi where delegates agreed
that children, women and girls have borne the brunt of violence,
discrimination and abuse in the continent.
“Ending all forms of
violence against women and girls is an imperative to help Africa
realize full potential. We should also create safe spaces for
victims of gender based violence to recover and make a positive
contribution to their communities,” said Nyaradzayi.
She said that AU
member states have rallied behind international best practices
to revitalize war against gender based violence including rape,
early marriages and female genital cut.
have advocated for retraining of law enforcement personnel like
police and prosecutors as a means to enhance response to gender
Mandisa Mzindle, the
founder of a South African gender advocacy group, said that a
new conversation is required to explore innovative ways to end
violence against African women and girls.
equality through affirmative action could neutralize harmful
practices that have confined women and girls to the periphery,”
have a duty to engage men and boys in this endeavor to end
violence targeting the female gender,” she added.
Winny Obure, a
Kenyan gender rights activist, said that targeted interventions
like skills development, mentorship and gainful employment could
minimize abuse and discrimination affecting women and girls in