Advocacy at regional level


Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) is at the forefront of the advocacy campaign to get women involved in the decision-making structures of the African Union (AU).

FAS advocates for the adoption of the "parity principle", or gender equality. Its activities have resulted in gender parity in the AU Commission and the adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in 2003 and of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa in 2004.  


The transformation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU) in 2002 provided an ideal opportunity to initiate a new agenda for increasing women's participation in the political processes of Africa.

The process of advocating for gender parity in the AU began at the penultimate meeting of the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government held in 2000 in Lomé, Togo. Here, the idea of a consultative meeting was first discussed by FAS and the African Women's Committee on Peace and Development (AWCPD). The meetings were intended to bring together women's networks at the same time as the OAU/AU held its summits in order to push for changes in policy at the regional level.

Click here to see further details on the initial OAU meetings where gender mainstreaming was discussed »

Initial consultative meetings

The first consultative meeting was held in Durban, South Africa in June 2002 to coincide with the First Ordinary Session of the newly established AU.

Durban 2002
Participants at  the 1st Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the AU, Durban, South Africa, June 2002

The meetings, and advocacy activities that followed resulted in the landmark adoption of  the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in June 2003, as well as the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa in July 2004. The adoption of the Solemn Declaration was a historic event for African women, as it was the first time a continental organization had taken ownership of gender mainstreaming at the highest level, prioritizing the tackling of such issues as HIV/Aids, the recruitment of child soldiers, and women's land ownership and inheritance rights.

Click here for details on the meetings and activties organized by FAS and its partners to promote gender equality in the AU» 

Monitoring the Solemn Declaration

Since the adoption of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, FAS has played a leading role in coordinating the efforts of civil society to monitor and report on the commitment of member states to the implementation of it.

Click here for further details on FAS's efforts to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Solemn Declaration.»

Gender mainstreaming in other AU organs

Several important advances have also been made in mainstreaming gender in other AU bodies. These include the appointment of the following women to various positions within the institutional framework of the AU:

Gertrude Mongella
Currently President of the Pan-African Parliament

Wangari Maathai
Currently the Chairperson of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC)

Marie Angelique Savane
Elected as the first President of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)

Graca Machel
Member of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)

Litha Musyimi-Ogana
First Head of the Office of Gender and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) created in 2004 by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)

Yetunde Teriba
Acting Director of the African Union Women, Gender and Development Directorate

Mrs Salamata Sawadogo
Dr Angela Melo
Ms Sanji Mmasenono Monageng
Mrs Reine Alapini-Gansou
Ms Faith Pansy Tlakula
Members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights


From Solemn Declaration to Solemn Implementation

FAS coordinates the Gender is my Agenda Campaign, which was officially launched at the Banjul conference in June 2006. The campaign is a network of women's organizations whose aim is to disseminate the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa to a wider audience, while monitoring, evaluating and reporting on its implementation. 

The overall objectives of the campaign are to:

- monitor and evaluate the implementation of the thematic points of the Solemn Declaration;
- mobilize and strengthen the capacities of women to contribute to decision-making processes for peace and development;
- ensure gender equality in the design and implementation of African programmes such as those of the AU and NEPAD, via gender balance and gender mainstreaming.

The thematic points of the campaign are:

- Health
- Education
- Economic empowerment
- Human rights
- Peace and security
- Governance