Africa's women meet to discuss empowerment

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monrovia - Women from across Africa, including Minerals and Energy Minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, gathered in Liberia at the weekend to debate women empowerment, peace and security and leadership development.

The International Colloquium on Women's Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security 2009 brought together 400 international participants and 400 Liberian participants.

It was first conceptualised in 2006 during the inauguration of Africa's first female President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

Organised to coincide with the International Women's Day, the women were given the chance to link up with their peers from around the world and sharing best practices.

The summit also focussed on supporting the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security to ensure that women are protected from the worst abuses in times of conflict.

The achievement of Millennium Development Goal 3 on gender equality and empowerment of women, including building capacity and resources of government and non-governmental institutions to work for women's rights and economic empowerment was also debated.

The colloquium was co-chaired by the Liberia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olubanke King-Akerele, and the Liberian Minister of Gender and Development, Vabah Gayflor.

South Africa has demonstrated its political will and commitment to change the lives of women in the country, among others through signing important international conventions on the rights of women, in particular the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

It has also, through the Spousal Office and the Office on the Status of Women, both in the Presidency, and the Department of Defence, spearheaded programmes that seek to assist women from conflict-ridden countries in Africa to contribute to the culture of peace on the continent. -