Malawi’s Banda says ‘it’s time for African woman to stand tall’

Malawi President Joyce Banda on Monday said time has come for an African woman to stand tall and be recognized among male counterparts.

The president said this in Lilongwe when she launched the Fourth Regional Conference on African Women in Political Leadership where participants from 21 African countries are attending.

She said it was very encouraging to note that Africa was developing a favourable environment for women to rise to higher position hence, women should take advantage of it.

“I am very humbled to note that Africa is making progress in allowing women to have leadership roles,” said President Banda, adding, “Now that African men have decided to create space to allow African women to take leadership positions, it’s up to women to take up the challenge.”

President Banda said she had had meetings with Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf, Chairperson for African Union (AU) Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni; and that the four had decided to stand up and promote fellow women to influential positions.

President Joyce Banda giving her official opening address at the FEMNET Conference. pic by Felix Washon, Mana.

“We must get organized and push for economic emancipation because I sincerely believe that economic empowerment of women is key to economic development,” said the president.

Apart from launching the conference the president also launched a book, Her Story compiled by founding member of African Women’s Development and Communication Network Njoki Wainaina.

The book, according to Wainaina, reflects on the journey African woman has gone through for the past decades.

“There was a time when ‘equality’ sounded like a dirty word,” said Wainaina, adding, “We are happy that today we can advocate for the 50:50 campaign without fear.”

She further said Malawi had been selected to host the Fourth Regional Conference on African Women in Political Leadership to honour President Banda for achieving the role of the continent’s second female president, among other things.

The conference will run from Monday to Wednesday, November 28 and its theme is Interrogating Gender and Elections Envisioning Women Leadership Post 2015.

Delegates at the conference are expected to brainstorm and advance the 50:50 campaign agenda in Africa.

Other speakers at the launch included UNDP Country Representative Richard Dictus and Deputy Minister of Gender Children and Social Welfare, Jennifer Chilunga.

President Mrs Joyce Banda lauching the book, Her Story. pic by Felix Washon, Mana.
UNDP Resident Coordinator Richard Dictus speaking during the opening of the conference.

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