2 September 2022
The President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, has challenged African women and girls to take up positions of leadership to steer the transformation of the continent. Speaking during a reception she hosted at the Grand Palace for the African Women Leaders’ Network (AWLN) National Chapters from across the continent, the President, an AWLN pioneer, and in her capacity as the Patron of the AWLN Ethiopian Chapter, lauded the AWLN for the progress and impact it has achieved since its establishment in 2017 during which thirty (30) National Chapters have been established in various member states across the continent.
Elaborating on the importance of developing and enhancing avenues for women empowerment while citing efforts to sustain women empowerment, the President cited the Presidential Leadership Program She launched early this year targeting women leaders in middle level leadership positions in the government, the private and civil societies. The training program aims at bridging the gap in women’s participation in leadership and decision-making positions in the country. Additionally, mentorship program is being implemented in five universities in the country.
H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde further shared her experiences in the ladder of leadership in the various positions she has held as the first-ever female President of Ethiopia, a diplomat, and as leader in the global peace and security sector. She encouraged women and the young generation to boldly tackle the challenges hampering the realization of gender equality, underscoring that women should not be characterized only as victims of inequality but as drivers of positive change and enablers of innovative solutions to existing and emerging challenges on women empowerment.
On her part, Bineta Diop, African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security and co-convener of AWLN observed that the continent will not achieve its vision of sustainable development without the active and meaningful participation of women and youth in all spheres of life. In reflecting on the progress made by AWLN in its commitment to enhance the leadership of women in the transformation of Africa, in line with Africa Agenda 2063 Aspiration 6 which envisions an Africa that is people-centered, with gender equality, and where women are empowered and play their rightful role in all spheres of life, and aligned to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 5, Mme. Diop underlined the impact of the 30 AWLN national chapters in driving change at the national level through the mobilization of all women including those at the grassroot level, to ensure no woman is left behind.
Mme. Diop further noted the leadership role of H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and AWLN Patron, in guiding the Network and drive chance toward the fulfillment of its vision. She particularly challenged the women to champion and advocate for the ratification, domestication and implementation of policies and frameworks that uphold and advance the rights of women.
Also present at the reception were Dr. Ergogie Tesfaye, Minister of Women and Social Affairs of Ethiopia, Amb. Konjit Sinegiorgis, an accomplished diplomat and former Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU), and Mrs. Awa Ndiaye Seck, UN Women’s Special Representative to AU and UNECA.
Established in 2017, AWLN envisions to serve as a conduit for enhanced mobilization of women, in various sectors, to impact the road to peace and development on the continent and serve as an overall instrument of transformation. The network comprises a diversity of women, including young women in leadership from all sectors of society including the political, public, and private sector, civil society, and grassroots women with recognized and emerging constituencies, and who actively engage in mobilization and participation at community levels.