Joyce Banda Calls For More Women Participation in Leadership | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Joyce Banda Calls For More Women Participation in Leadership

Posted: Jul 29, 2016 at 3:08 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Joyce Banda  Calls For More Women Participation in Leadership


Former Malawi’s President Dr. Joyce Banda, has challenged women across Africa to see themselves as relevant and seek leadership positions in the quest to help achieve economic, political and social development in the continent.

Banda, the first female President of Malawi and the second in female President in Africa, spoke in Lagos on Thursday on the topic ‘Women in Solidarity…a new paradigm for inclusion at a Women’s Power Lunch, a programme organised by Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF), a non-profit organisation founded in honour of the memory and in furtherance of the ideals of the late General Murtala Muhammed, the former Nigerian Head of State.

She said women are too strong to be ignored in any society and that they must therefore rise up and take their rightful positions as they won’t get it on a platter of gold.

In her words: “The theme for this year’s edition of Women Power Lunch is apt as it provides us with the opportunity to not only discuss issues that affect women but also provides a platform for us to network on how to promote effective women leadership and also eliminate the barriers that limit women from being relevant in the continent.”

Banda urged the women not to underestimate the powers they have and went ahead to list five ways that women leadership must be promoted in the African continent.

First, she canvassed for a deliberate policy aimed at promoting the appointment of discerning women in key leadership positions in both corporate and political settings.

Dr. Banda also called for the establishment of policies that promote a compulsory education for the girl-child. This policy according to her, would ensure that the girl-child’s career advancement would not be hindered as the lure to marry them off at a tender age would be limited.

In addition, she canvassed for gender equality especially in promoting women involvement in political activities in line with the United Nations declaration. She decried the low implementation of this declaration by many African countries.

She voiced out her opinion on the current trend in Africa where women in politics are being abused and scandalised a situation that has made many women to rather not stand for elective positions in the continent.

“In my view, women leadership is under attack. Many women that would love to contest for elective positions are afraid to do so for fear of being scandalised and abused by the men folk,” Banda said.

She commended the President of Rwanda for championing the promotion of women leadership globally.

On her part, Mrs. Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, the Chief Executive Officer of MMF, eluogised Banada as a role model and appropriate speaker for this year’s edition of the Women’s Power Lunch because of her laudable achievements and track records.

In her words, “Her Excellency, Joyce Banda served as the President of the Republic of Malawi from 2012 to 2014 making her Malawi’s first female President and Africa’s second. Before assuming the Presidency, President Banda served as a member of parliament, Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Foreign Minister, and Vice President of the Republic of Malawi. She is credited with reversing the trajectory of an ailing economy that was on the verge of collapse when she took office and initiating a series of economic reforms that increased the country’s economy growth rate from 1.8 percent to 6.2 per cent in two years”.

She added that President Banda strengthened civil institutions and deepened democracy by repealing a number of repressive laws that abridged civil liberties and limited press freedom.

“One of her first acts upon taking office, which signaled the direction of her administration, was her sale of the multi-million dollar presidential jet and her donation of 30 per cent of her salary to the Malawi Council for the Handicapped, an organisation that caters for individuals living with disabilities. This is only a part of the legacy that President Banda left which stands as a shimmering example to not only Malawi but to all of Africa”, Mrs. Muhammed-Oyebode said.

She added that when women work together, they can generate more than enough force to shatter the barriers that hold them back in many parts of the world. These barriers according to her, take various forms as they are rooted in ill-conceived policies and retrogressive traditions that restrict female access to qualitative education.

“There is the glass barrier that keeps eminently qualified women out of the highest levels of public service and corporate governance even when their talents and competence have been proven repeatedly. There are barriers in the form of unfair standards that ensure that women are paid less than men in the workplace, and other allied practices and conventions that are designed to place the toga of inadequacy and inferiority upon womanhood”, she said.