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An urgent summit is underway in South Africa confronting a sobering reality – the masculinity crisis spurring endemic violence against Africa’s women and girls.
The 3rd African Union Men’s Conference on Positive Masculinity opened today in Pretoria, rallying male officials at the highest levels. Its vital aim: “Accelerating Commitments” to end the ongoing plague of gender abuse and femicide.
“We must challenge notions that aggression and violence define strength,” stated South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in his opening address alongside African Union Chairman Azali Assoumani.
Over two days, leaders will dig into the root causes and social norms still engrained in traditional African manhood – norms that devalue and endanger women.
“The time has come for dramatic social reconditioning,” Ramaphosa asserted. “We must build positive masculinities centered on respect, compassion and equality to protect the dignity of our mothers, daughters, and all people.”
Additional goals include assessing laws, furthering economic inclusion, and backing interventions to counter destructive gender stereotypes across African society.
With robust participation from AU member states, the conference signals collective acknowledgement of this human rights crisis. The outcomes could resonate far beyond the continent as the world faces similar reckonings.
“Africa now takes the lead in writing a new social contract – where no woman or girl lives in fear simply because of her gender,” Ramaphosa concluded.