This week, more than 3000 delegates are at the annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Kigali discussing new strategies to tackle poverty, underdevelopment, and put their weight behind global schemes that ensure Africa’s progress.
To mark the occasion, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, published an OpEd today titled Women’s Role in the Next 50 Years – the Africa We Want. It’s a really good, really feminist piece and reading it I felt a bit ashamed for my tweets to her earlier this month. After all, she is probably, hopefully, doing all she can about involving UN Women in the Boko Haram abduction situation.
I’d like to amplify the six key things Mlambo-Ngcuka says that African women want for the future so I’m directly posting them below. I’ve added a seventh point of my own because I have a thing for the number seven and more importantly because without it the other six won’t happen.
- Women of Africa want to live in a peaceful continent in which there are no widows as a result of senseless killings and war, a continent in which they are not sexually abused and violated and in which suffering is not caused by the self-interest of a few corrupt and power hungry leaders. Instead, they want to be a force that creates cohesive and peaceful societies; that builds generations of prosperity and welfare for.
- We want an Africa which is a common and equitable market place, where laws of the market are not manipulated but shaped to permit entry and benefit for all. A continent where women are empowered to transform their subsistence farms to businesses that supply food, income and enable them to create wealth, assets and move into business leadership.
- African women want to be recognized, not as vulnerable members of society in need of charity but as a formidable force that needs to be released, empowered and massively invested in to fulfil their potential, drive growth, development and food security to phenomenal levels and ultimately reach their destiny. Women want to be an equal part of the force that makes decisions in social, political, economic and cultural affairs.
- The young women of Africa want to be considered not just as leaders of tomorrow but leaders today, with the ability to champion innovations in technology, agriculture, industry and societal welfare.
- We want Africa where Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is recognized as an important agenda for all, not just for women. Remember, when women are empowered, their husbands, sons and daughters and even their communities are empowered.
- We want men to commit to and join us in finding solutions that will make the 21st Century a century in which gender-based discrimination is truly eliminated.
- [Mine] We want an Africa with more women in top political positions. We want women in parliament, in the senate, as ministers, governors and as heads of state. We want feminine power pumping up the muscles of the political skeleton of our countries like never before. We want our countries to follow the model of Rwanda and put systems in place, which ensure that women gain access to decision making. We do not want this simply for the sake of it but because having more women in power makes countries wealthier, safer, happier, wiser and, more beautiful. And at the risk of sounding like a broken record: we want female leaders because male leaders are not going to deliver Mlambo-Ngcuka’s list however obvious they may seem. They did not care about implementing these things yesterday. They do not seriously care about implementing them today and they won’t tomorrow.
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