On Monday, on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly, Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré chaired an important meeting on empowering women. The panel would not have been complete without President Paul Kagame’s presence and the many things he has to share on the subject.
What was most interesting in the meeting, however, is that it focused on the empowerment of Sahel women, who lag at the bottom ladder of women emancipation.
The Rwandan women empowerment success story has been repeated time and again but never loses its allure. But will it continue to be the subject of international discussions without seeing it replicated elsewhere?
Three weeks have elapsed since a neighbouring country should have implemented a constitutional requirement of 30 per cent threshold in women participation in governance. What is surprising is that there is little noise about the missed deadline.
Women empowerment is not just enacting laws, it is also having the political and cultural will to implement the policies.
While it is an open secret that most African and religious societies jealously hang on to the idea of male dominance, it does not mean that women empowerment is impossible. Women have to stand up to be heard. And men have to stand beside them in the effort to break the glass ceiling because the whole society benefits from an empowered woman.
But, if the women in the Sahel that African leaders are advocating for don’t play their role, it will be a lost cause at the beginning; it will have started on the wrong footing.