African women leaders network kicks off in Ethiopia

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The second African women leaders network meeting kicks off in Ethiopia. Women from 40 countries are participating in the event.

The forum, launched in 2017 at the United Nations in New York, is a two-year initiative aimed at strengthening African women leaders’ capacity to build sustainable peace on the continent.

Across Africa, it is no longer a question of how much women are able to contribute to society – but rather how easily they can move into the political, economic and social spaces in their countries.

Legal systems and societies that degrade the role of women, and the failure of institutions to protect women rights are all concerns of women leaders who are meeting in Addis Ababa for the African leaders Initiative network.

“Boko Haram and other groups continue to affect the lives so millions across the SAHEL and the lake Chad regions and the majority of whom are women and children. In Nigeria, Cameroon Chad and Niger Almost one of every 5-suicide bomber is a child and three quarters of all child suicide bombers are girls. That is our challenge. As this network we need to consider what is that we are going to do to change this trajectory,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN women.

The meeting is held under the theme “Women Working Together for the Africa We Want: From Commitment to Action”, with a special call to more African nations to join the cause.

“The fact that only Rwanda Senegal and South Africa have parliamentarians that are above 40% is a challenge that we want to tackle so that we can increase the number of women who are in parliament. We also want to increase the number of women who are in cabinet, women ministers,” said Mlambo-Ngcuka.

According to the attendees, change depends entirely on individual members states and more so the political will of the male dominated leadership at the helm of the African Union.

” Gender equality and women empowerment is a central piece of the endeavor to make the organization fit for purpose. Significantly the January 28 African union summit decided to set a target for gender parity for 2025,” said  AU chairperson, Faki Moussa Mahamat.

The task ahead of the women leaders  is to create more networks at grassroots levels in their countries to help raise awareness over how women can access education, health services, agricultural funds and roles in peace building – a aspects which these networks hope to achieve.