Joyce Banda, Malawi’s former President and Founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBFI) has accepted an invitation to become a member of the Council of Women Leaders, which is headquartered in Washington DC.
According to a statement issued by the United Nations Foundation in Washington, new members of the Council also include the new British Prime Minister, Theresa May.
The Council of Women World Leaders is a network of current and former women prime ministers and presidents established in 1996 by Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, President of Iceland (1980-1996) and first woman in the world to be democratically elected president, Mary Robinson, President of Ireland (1990-1997) and Laura Liswood, Secretary General.
The Council’s goal is to use the symbolic importance of women leaders and the substantive experience of its members to support women’s full participation and representation in the political process at the highest levels, and encourage future women leaders.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania serves as Chair of the Council.
The Council is hosted at the UN Foundation and has 63 members.
As a new member of the of Women Leaders, was at the UN Foundation Headquarters in Washington DC on Wednesday December 14, 2016 where she met meeting with officials from US NGOs and activists working on issues of women and girls.
During the meeting, former President Banda addressed various challenges and opportunities facing women leaders and women in general and called on the international community, the civil society and national governments to adopt affirmative action to empower women in various forms.
“Women leadership is under attack across the world,” she stated.
“As much as there are deliberate efforts to get as many women as possible into elected leadership positions, the major challenge is to keep them there,” Bande said.
She continued: “Women in leadership positions suffer misogyny and other forms of ridicule, which hold back other women from seeking elected office.
“Unless we allow as many women as possible to sit on the policy formulating table, many women and girls shall continue to suffer discrimination and abuse.”
Banda is the first female President of Malawi. Before becoming president, she served as the country’s first female vice-president.
She was also a Member of Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Gender, Children’s Affairs and Community Services.
Banda is a women’s rights activist and has founded numerous organizations focused on promoting women in business, such as the National Association of Business Women (NABW) and Young Women Leaders Network.
In 2014, Forbes named President Banda as the 40th most powerful woman in the world and the most powerful woman in Africa.
Banda is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Wilson Center and Center for Global Development (CGD) in Washington DC where she is researching on Women’s Leadership and Girls Education, respectively.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :