Joyce Banda, who has made history becoming Malawi’s first female president and only the second woman to lead a country in Africa, has been named this year’s Reykjavík Women Political Leaders Trailblazer Award winner.
Making the announcement from Iceland, Giulia Brambilla, Women Political Leaders Communications Assistant, said in a statement that Banda—fondly called JB— has emerged a winner for 2020 Awards because of her relentless contribution in fighting for a more inclusive and equitable society.
“On behalf of Women Political Leaders (WPL), the worldwide network of female politicians, we have the honour of informing you that WPL would like to acknowledge your outstanding career as a female political leader with the WPL Trailblazer Award,” reads the statement in part.
The WPL Trailblazer Award is presented to women Presidents and Prime Ministers; female politicians who have shown with their work that it is possible to ensure a higher presence of women in leadership positions in politics.
According to Brambilla WPL Awards celebrate the dedication of those women who succeeded with their perseverance in changing the rules of the game.
The ceremony to present the Trailblazer Award took place at the Reykjavik Global Forum Womens Leader 2020, on Tuesday, November 10 which was co-hosted by the Parliament and Government of Iceland.
“Congratulations on winning this year’s Reykjavík Global Forum Trailblazer Award. This year’s award serves as a key for women leaders to power, together across sectors, to take stock of the new realities. It also signifies the zeal to fostering greater parity in decision-making, and to shape sustainable pathways that can help societies worldwide to build back better,” the statement reads.
The statement further reads, “Equality between men and women can no longer be together, let’s build-back towards a more equitable, sustainable and inclusive society.”
Accepting the award, JB said she is humbled to receive the award which she has dedicated to all women in the country.
“I have been extremely lucky to be the one that implemented issues that emerged from personal experience namely; education, maternal health, income into poor households and human rights. I want to accept this award and thank all those that have been involved in putting this together, I say thank you.”
“I accept this award on behalf of millions of women who have looked up to me as a role model. In a special way, I want to thank those Malawian women who made a deliberate choice to change their situation and I just thank God that when they made that decision, I was there to walk their journey with them,” said JB.
Adding, “I want to thank all those that have made this award possible, because I know what a multiplier effect it will have on women of Africa and Malawi in particular.”
Joyce Banda is an entrepreneur, activist, politician and philanthropist, she served as the President of the Republic of Malawi from 2012-2014. She was Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second. Prior to assuming office, President Banda served as a Member of Parliament, Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Foreign Minister, and Vice President of the Republic of Malawi. While serving as Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, she championed the enactment of The Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill (2006), which provided the legal framework to support the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.
JB is credited for turning round an ailing economy which was on the verge of collapse in April 2012. She instituted a number of economic reforms which led to significant economic expansion; Malawi’s rate of economic growth rose from 1.8% in 2012 to over 6.2% in 2014.
Under President Banda, Malawi’s operational industrial capacity improved from 35% in 2012 to 85% in July 2014, and the foreign exchange import cover was increased from one week to three and half months in July 2014. In the areas of democracy, good governance, and rule of law, President Banda repealed a number of draconian laws which weakened essential democratic institutions, infringed upon civil liberties, and restricted the freedom of the press.
Banda’s unwavering commitment to the promotion of women’s maternal health and reproductive rights led her to establish the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood, which spearheaded the fight against high maternal mortality rates and the promotion of safe motherhood in Malawi.
During the two years of her presidency, Malawi registered considerable success in the areas of maternal and child health, reducing the maternal mortality ratio from 675 deaths per 100,000 live births to 460, a reduction of 32%.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :