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Don’t subject yourself to the mercy of men – Ex-Zimbabwean VP tells African women

Ex-Zimbabwean Vice President, Dr. Joice Mujuru on Wednesday advised women to stop placing themselves under the mercy of men.

She, however, declared that instead of relegating themselves to the background, they should brace up for the challenges of leadership at the techelon of all spheres of human endeavours.

Mujuru said these while speaking at the opening of the 2017 National Women’s Summit, held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan in Nigeria.

The three-day summit themed, “The resilient woman: Making a difference”.

Mujuru who delivered a keynote address advised that women should stop placing themselves at the mercy of men as she said instead of doing that, they should brace up for the challenges of leadership at the top echelon of all spheres of human endeavours.

She said that her emergence as the first female Vice President of Zimbabwe in 2004, a position she held for ten years, did not come on a platter of gold, having been in the trenches with the Zimbabwean liberators since 1973.

She said women must be inspired to rise to the occasion even when the challenge appeared to be daunting and insurmountable.

Mujuru maintained that, “We must have the desire to make a positive transformational difference and not be satisfied by being helpers of men. We must run business and be leaders of nation not rulers.

“Our desire must not only be about making monies, but the difference we make in people’s lives. The major driver behind our positive transformation must be anchored on our ability to implement a unique vision, which must arouse the consciousness of the African society.

“We cannot continue to play a second fiddle simply because of gender. We must rise to the occasion. We should no longer accept the tag of a weaker sex.”

Former First Lady of Liberia, Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor in her address urged women to tell their own stories in order to inspire those who think they cannot make it to the top.

She said, “Women are currently in difficult circumstances across our world and especially, in Africa; as we struggle to deal with issues of violence against women, unequal opportunity and lack of economic opportunities.

“Resilience is a life journey. I dare not say that it is something you wake up in the morning and you have. But you have to go through the fire and get better and become a more resilient person. There is something you can do now to shape your life.

“Women must tell their own stories to inspire those who think they cannot make it to the top. Seek help when you need it. You will be surprised that many people will be willing to help. We must mentor the next generation of women leaders.

“If you put woman in a position of authority, you have put somebody in charge of maternal mortality, you have put somebody in charge of emancipation of women; you have put somebody in charge of campaign against violence and other vices against women and children.

“In a 30-member Liberian Senate, I was just one of the only three women. There is this particular guy that was constantly my harasser each time I made attempt to speak, all because my husband was a former president. But, one day I decided to square up against him and that was the day I gained freedom from him.”

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