The news is poverty or starvation, HIV AIDS or human right abuse, child trafficking or ritual murder. Even more so, the African woman is always associated with domestic violence, Female Genital Mutilation or rape. Indeed, just like any other continent, Africa has her good and bad. If the negatives are being talked about, it is only fair that we recognize the positives as well.
Women all over the continent of Africa have dedicated their lives to help build better lives for their fellow women, their countries and the continent as a whole. When I recently read on CNN that the new Egyptian President might select a female vice president, it only cemented to me the result of the hard work that women, not only Egypt, but across the entire continent that have done with respect to equal rights and administrative political justice. Whether putting women in higher political offices bridges the gap between men and women in a highly patriarchal continent is another debate, but one thing is clear, and that is the fact that these women are equally as good as their male counterparts and deserve every bit of the political positions they hold.
Joyce Banda, the first female president of Malawi; Ellen Johnson, Africa’s first ever female president and of Liberia; Joice Muguru, one of two vice presidents of Zimbabwe; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s first female finance minister since 2003; Helen Zille, opposition leader in South Africa representing the Democratic Alliance party; Isatou Njie-Saidy, Vice President of The Gambia; Luisa Diaz Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique until 2010 and 2004 Forbes 100 most powerful women; and Rose Mukantabana, Speaker of the Chamber of Liberties. These are just to mention few.
All these powerful and influential women worked as hard, arguably even harder than their respective male colleagues. Against all odds, they have risen through the ranks and proved themselves worthy of their political responsibilities.
The results of their hard work are graciously enormous. The combined efforts of all these women have changed people, destinies, lives and fortunes. Africa needs more women in politics. Inevitably, women are human and are prone to make mistakes just like men, but one wise Ghanaian once said “If you educate a man, you educate and individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation”—Dr Kwegyir Aggrey.
Africa respects her women. Africa will be virtually in-existent without the strength of women both famous and non-famous.