Malawi President Joyce Banda has said time has come for African women to be liberated and empowered economically.
The Malawi leader was speaking on Thursday as she was presiding over the 10th Anniversary celebration of the African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa at the Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe.
President Banda said was satisfied with the increasing representation of women in leadership positions across Africa. She cited her position, as well as the Liberian President, Vice-Presidents of Gambia, Zimbabwe and Mauritius and the Chairperson of the African Union, as evidence of the increasing representation of women in leadership positions across the continent. .
Banda, who assumes the leadership of SADC this week, said there is need for concerted efforts in Africa to ensure that women are liberated and empowered, saying the numbers in women leadership positions are not enough hence the need to do more.
The Malawi leader observed that despite some women rising to leadership positions, reports show that more women than men are among the poorest in Africa; more women are infected with HIV and women bear 95 percent burden of care. Violence against women is still rampant.
Banda said: “What I have just highlighted should be a reminder that while we are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the AU Women’s protocol, the struggle continues.
“We need to pull all our efforts and resources together to make sure that African women are totally liberated and empowered both economically and socially.”
President Banda said women of Africa are proud of their home grown instrument, the AU Women’s Protocol, explaining it provides broad protection for women’s rights, including gender equality and justice.
“It is therefore my sincere hope that we shall work together to make this decade, 2010-2020, the African Women Decade; a transformative decade for women’s rights on our continent,” said Banda.
Among the distinguished ladies and gentlemen present at the celebrations were His Excellency Armando Emilio Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique and Chairperson of SADC, Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Her Excellency the Vice President of the Gambia, Dr. Issatu Njie Saidi.