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Thanks to a solemn ceremony this Wednesday, June 22, 2022, the President of the National Assembly Louis Gbèhounou VLAVONOU proceeded, in accordance with his dynamic of positioning the 8th legislature at the forefront of the fight for the promotion of gender, to the installation of the Gender Focal Unit of the parliamentary institution in the “Kolawolé IDJI” room.
They are 20 members to be installed by the President of the National Assembly in the presence of the First Parliamentary Secretary, Sofiath SCHANOU wife AROUNA, the second parliamentary secretary, Dolenix KOGLÉVI, the Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Women (INF ), Huguette BOKPÈ wife GNANCADJA, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Microfinance Pascal WELE IDRISSOU, members of the cabinet of the President of the National Assembly, parliamentary executives…
According to Decision No. 2021-0110/AN/PT of November 3, 2021, these members will have the essential mission of ensuring the integration of the gender approach in strategic orientation documents, policies, programs, projects, budgets. , actions and activities of the National Assembly. Three highlights marked this installation ceremony. From the outset, the Director of Cabinet of the President of the National Assembly Mathieu AHOUANSOU welcomed the guests and recalled that the installation of this unit is only possible thanks to the leadership of President Louis G.VLAVONOU supported by members of the office of the National Assembly. After thanking the members of the steering committee, he said that the President of the National Assembly, by creating this unit, wanted to provide Parliament with a monitoring structure that will ensure respect for gender integration in all programs. The gender focal unit is made up of members of the steering committee chaired by the parliamentary authority and members of the technical secretariat, he informed.
Following him, the Administrative Secretary General of the National Assembly Mariano OGOUTOLOU proceeded to read the decision n ° 2022-010 / AN / PT appointing the members of the technical secretariat of the Gender Focal Unit of the National Assembly.
In his speech, the President of the National Assembly underlined the unique and important nature of this ceremony before recalling the major steps taken by the 8th legislature to strengthen the debate on the promotion of gender in Benin.
The history of “gender”
For President VLAVONOU, gender issues are at the heart of all development issues, because humanity cannot claim to advance by putting its other half on hold. “… This is a cause close to my heart, since I entered politics. This is why I have never failed, whenever I had the opportunity, to consider taking gender into account as a necessary condition for the success of political action…”, he declared speaking of his personal commitment. Continuing to read his speech, the parliamentary authority immersed his audience in the history of “gender” by making a few reminders:
“… It was in 1955 that the controversial New Zealand psychologist and sexologist John Money coined the term “gender”, based on a study he conducted on hermaphroditic children. In particular, he introduced the notions of paraphilia and “gender role”. The gender theory will then be taken up and transformed, until it regains the meaning that we recognize in it today. Going back to the theorist Money’s understanding, gender is based on sex differences among human beings. Feminists then appropriated this concept to use it as a lever to change the sexual order.
UN Women considers that “gender” means “the socio-cultural construction of masculine and feminine roles and of the relationships between men and women. While ‘sex’ refers to biological characteristics, being born male or female, gender describes culturally assimilated and inculcated social functions. Transposed from the English “Gender”, gender is therefore a sociological concept designating “social gender relations” as well as the analysis of status, social roles, relations between men and women in a given society. By taking this definition of gender into account, the obvious observation is that there is an imbalance with regard to the consideration of women in public development policies. Therefore, to reverse this trend, according to UN Women, it is necessary to put in place strategies “aimed at incorporating the concerns and experiences of women as well as those of men in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs in all areas – political, economic, social and cultural – so that women and men enjoy equal benefits and inequality cannot be perpetuated”.
The contribution of the 8th legislature to the question of “gender”
Several acts are taken by the 8th legislature in favor of “gender”. President VLAVONOU takes stock of this through these excerpts from his speech: “… The national representation, with the intention of playing its part in this fight, laid down three major legislative acts under the eighth legislature. This is, above all, the adoption of Law No. 2019-40 revising the Constitution of Benin on Thursday, October 31, 2019, a historic date. This stipulates, in its article 26 (new) that “men and women are equal in law. However, the law may lay down special provisions for improving the representation of the people by women”. It is by virtue of this major and salutary constitutional reform that we were able to endow Benin with Law No. 2019 – 43 of November 15, 2019 on the electoral code, which stipulates, in its article 144, that the number of deputies in the The National Assembly has one hundred and nine (109) including twenty-four (24) seats reserved exclusively for women.
It is also about the vote of the law n ° 2021-13 of December 20, 2021 modifying and supplementing the law n ° 2002-07 of August 24, 2004 relating to the code of the people and the family as well as the law n ° 2021 – 12 of December 20, 2021 amending and supplementing Law No. 2003-04 of March 3, 2003, relating to sexual health and reproduction and laying down special provisions for the repression of offenses committed on the grounds of sex and the protection of women in the Republic of Benin.
“…By taking these unprecedented and revolutionary acts, the eighth legislature inscribes its name in golden letters in the annals of the fight for gender in Benin, thus following in the footsteps of the executive in this niche. Indeed, faced with the diagnosis revealed by major studies and surveys carried out within the Beninese population, and which highlight the disparities between men and women in terms of access to factors of production and basic social services , the Government has decided to adopt a National Gender Promotion Policy (PNPG). This document serves as a reference framework for strategies or actions intended to reduce or even eliminate disparities between men and women by 2025. In the same vein, and to better implement the national gender promotion policy, the government set up, on July 21, 2021, the National Institute for Women, replacing the National Institute for the Advancement of Women. Attached to the Presidency of the Republic of Benin, this structure works for the advancement of women, deals with issues of gender-based violence as well as the fight against all forms of discrimination and violence against wife. For this, the Institute has the power to take legal action…”, implied the parliamentary authority. Finally, he referred the members of the gender focal unit of the National Assembly to this exalting mission which consists in guaranteeing a better consideration of the gender approach in the National Assembly.
At the end of the ceremony, the Gender Focal Point of the National Assembly. Carmen Fifamé TOUDONOU, took the measure of the task that awaits them to achieve the objectives set. As for the representative of the National Institute for Women (INF), she is in favor of collaboration between the INF and the gender focal unit of the National Assembly.
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