Women have been commended the President of the Pan African Parliament, Dr. Gertrude Mongella, for their efforts in Africa’s liberation struggles from colonialism and their determination to develop the continent from its high levels of poverty today.
She was opening the second Women’s Platform for Action in Africa conference in Johannesburg. Citing South Africa and Rwanda, Mongella said that the women in the two countries suffered the brunt of apartheid and genocide respectively and were now actively helping their countries overcome such tragedies.
“After the genocide, Rwanda moved to let go of the past and now the men and women of Rwanda have decided through the power of the vote to send more women to the parliament,” Mongella said.
Mongella was referring to the recent parliamentary elections in Rwanda where more women than men won Parliamentary seats. She, however, said that the numbers of women is useless if there are incompetent leaders at the top.
“Because of his (President Kagame) good leadership, that country now has a good environment which encourages, respects and opens doors for women to show their qualities in management.”
This platform was championed by South African female legislators in 2006, they sought to create a forum through which to engage policy makers in parliaments across Africa on gender issues, today the platform is being streamlined to be adopted among the institutions of the Pan African Parliament.
This year’s theme is “Women and the quest for Human Security”.