Joyce Banda in Liberia, calls on governments to invest more in girls’ education to build women leaders

Malawi’s former President Joyce Banda says in many parts of Africa, young girls are discriminated against when it comes to accessing education and that in many cases, they fall victim to harmful cultural practices.

Banda speaking at the Sheroes forum
Banda with Liberia leader George Weah and others
Former African female presidents Sir Leaf Johnstone and Joyce Banda

Banda, who is chairperson for International Sheroes Foundation, was speaking during the ‘International Sheroes Forum Liberia 2018’ whose theme was “Advancing women’s participation in leadership”. This year’s conference was held in Monrovia, Liberia, from 17 to 19 October 2018.

“To build women leaders, it is critical to start by investing in the girl child. My research has established that indeed leaders are born with 30 percent traits and 70 percent is developed throughout the person’s life,” she said.

Banda has spent the last two years as a Distinguished Fellow at Woodrow Wilson Centre in the United States of America where she was researching on “African Women’s Participation in Political Leadership”.

“The paper I wrote and the tool kit I developed as a result of that paper can be found on the Woodrow Wilson Centre website. The issues I discussed in that research paper are very relevant to the topic of today.

“While conducting this research, I came across this scientific fact that leaders, whether male or female, are born with 30% leadership traits and society or environment must add up the remaining 70% in order that they become that leader that they were meant to become,” she said.

Banda added that she decided to do more research on this scientific finding in order to make a case that if indeed it is true that leaders are born with 30% leadership traits.

“What are the chances of this African girl child, born in a typical rural household, locked up in abject poverty but brilliant and born a leader; acquiring the 70% that she requires to become the leader she was meant to be,” she said.

“I therefore approached the Centre for Global Development to do more research on this scientific finding. The African girl child research generated a lot of attention and interest so much so that I was encouraged and funded to write a book titled: “From 0 to 10”; and it can be found on the Centre for Global Development website,” Banda told the Forum in Monrovia.

She said because of the challenges girls face in Africa, they are less likely to develop the 70 percent traits, leaving the 30 percent to waste.

“These challenges have rendered many women unable to realize their leadership potential because the 70 percent which society must shape and motivate is unavailable. It is my hope that decision-makers will therefore implement policies and build programmes that support, protect and promote the girl child.

“It is my sincere hope that our African governments will put more focus and investment in educating girls if we have to create an environment where women can succeed into leadership calling,” she said.

Banda, however, noted that Africa had achieved more than other parts of the world as far as women’s leadership is concerned. She said the country with the highest number of female members of Parliament is in Africa, Rwanda.

“Other African countries making in the top 20 globally in 2017 include Senegal, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Angola. Africa has seen four female heads of state-Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Joyce Banda of Malawi, Catherine Samba Panza of Central African Republic, and Ameenah Gurib of Mauritius,” she said.

Banda announced that the International Sheroes Foundation had decided to reward three distinguished men who have demonstrated to support, promote and protect the cause for women. They were President George Manneh Weah, for choosing a woman running mate who is now Vice President, Vice President of Nigeria Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo, for advancing policies and programmes to uplift women and likewise Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.

Other distinguished guests at the forum included former Liberian President Ellen Jonson-Sirleaf and former Zimbabwean Vice President Joice Mujuru, among others.

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2 years ago

SITIKUKUFUNA .. ‘ndikumuziwa amene anaombera mphwiyo’

2 years ago

I thought she opened her school as an orphanage but she is now making money out of it? Cashgate Queen

2 years ago

If ministry of gender top officials are busy kumatifunsira ife ma interns achitsikana, how can women advance in all spheres of life? If ministry of gender policy makers are in forefront stifling women development, where is the country going? Ma bwana ndithu from P7 to Deputy Director busy kumatikakamiza kuti tizipanga nawo zachigololo. Where is this country going? Where will we women get support, protection etc if those we think should be in forefront protecting us have turned into scavengers?? My Malawi my country am crying….Ku capital hill needs exorcism… Kuli chiwanda chachigololo especially Ku ministry of gender. Mabwana zoona… Read more »

2 years ago
Reply to  GWM

dziululeni dzitsirudzo. Very low morals which reflect on how they handle government coffers.

2 years ago

Mbava iyi. Chejhumo wa Kazhigeti. Amangwetu kulamulira 2 years ndikuuzani nayo chifukwa Cha Kazhigeti.

Hlabezulu Ngonoonda
Hlabezulu Ngonoonda
2 years ago
Reply to  Duli

Corruption that culminated into “cash gate” during the reign of former President Joyce Banda has its origin from the UDF-Aford working relationship. The former was busy abusing or looting government funds without the latter party knowing anything about it. It was after Aford sympathizers in UDF that revealed to their partners in government about what their colleagues were doing that Aford eventually pulled out of government. Thereafter corruption started being reported in local papers. Fieldyork scandal followed .. then Ministry of Education K 187 million scam and many others. By the time Malawi had her first woman president, corruption had… Read more »

2 years ago

Ana amuna ndiye aziwaphuzitsa ndindani, I hate this stupid gospel. Behind every male figure there is a woman – that could be his mum, sister, aunt etc….but look at us we come up with policies to promote girls leaving our little boys behind – When you help girls only, your are equally descriminating those women behind the boys

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