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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 9 April 2013

HRVP Catherine Ashton hosts conference on Women's Leadership in the Sahel Region

A High-Level Conference on Women's Leadership in the Sahel Region was held today in Brussels. The event brought together 40 women, civil society leaders of several generations, peace and security experts, peace activists, government officials and gender equality advocates from the Sahel region. Members of the European Parliament, African and European Ambassadors, senior officials from the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union and the United Nations participated in the event. They heard directly from the crisis-affected women from the Sahel region their views and recommendations on women's economic empowerment and political participation, and their role in peace and recovery.

Following the conference, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton, said:

"All over the world where women prosper, societies prosper; where women suffer, so do the societies they live in. This is also true for the Sahel and this is why we met today to listen to women leaders from this region, where both African and international efforts are crucial to bring a solution to the crisis.

"Today's discussions helped shape a common vision on how we can empower women to help political stability and economic prosperity in the Sahel. It is an important step towards the High Level Donor's Conference on Development in Mali which the EU, France and Mali will convene on 15 May in Brussels."

The audio visual material can be found at:

Conference on Women's Leadership in the Sahel

Contacts :

Sebastien Brabant (+32 2 298 64 33)

Maja Kocijancic (+32 2 298 65 70)

Michael Mann (+32 2 299 97 80)

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