Nairobi – United States President Barack Obama said on Sunday that a country that did not value its women and children was likely to lag behind in development.

Obama spoke passionately about the need to empower women, in an address to Kenyan leaders and select citizens invited by the US Embassy in Nairobi, shortly before he flew out en route to Ethiopia as part of his current tour of Africa.

A father of two girls, Obama told his audience in Nairobi that it was “stupid” to play in a game where “half of your team” was left out.

“Any nation that fails to educate its girls or employ its women and allow them to maximise their potential is doomed to fall behind the global economy.

“Imagine if you have a team and you don’t let half of the team play, that’s stupid… That makes no sense,” he said.

He praised Kenyan Josephine Kulea as a champion for girls as she had founded Samburu Girls Foundation that had helped to rescue over 1 000 girls from abusive forced marriages and ensured they were enrolled in schools. She had also managed to plan rescue missions for girls who were married as young as six.

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US President Barack Obama urged Kenya”s leaders to make women”s development a priority. Photo: Jonathan Ernst

“It will be important for Kenya to recognise that no country can achieve its full potential unless it draws on the talents of all its people and that must include the half of Kenyans, maybe a little more than half, who are women and girls.

“Every country in every culture has traditions that are unique and help make that country what it is. But just because something is a part of your past doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t mean that it defines your future… Around the world, there is a tradition of repressing women, and treating them differently and not giving them the same opportunities… And husbands beating their wives and children not being sent to school,” said Obama.

“Those traditions treating women and girls as second-class citizens… those are bad traditions, they need to change, they are holding you back… There’s no excuse for sexual assault, or domestic violence, there’s no reason that young girls should suffer genital mutilation, there’s no place in civilised society for the online casino early or forced marriage of children.

“These traditions may date back centuries, they have no place in the 21st century,” the US leader stated.

Obama said progressive development policies demanded that girls get an education. “Evidence shows that societies that give daughters similar opportunities as their sons are more likely to progress faster… and when they become mothers are more likely to bring up educated children.”

During the Global Entrepreneurship Summit which was held here he noted that three resource centres for women entrepreneurs would be launched in Kenya, Zambia and Mali with $100 million of the $1 billion raised for young entrepreneurs in Africa.

Obama urged Kenyan youth not only to seek better opportunities abroad, in reference to his father who had applied to 30 universities before finally being accepted by a Hawaiian University. Obama said young Kenyans could now shine at home in Kenya because of the tremendous strides that the country had since made.

“You don’t need to do what my father did and leave your home in order get a good education and access to opportunity. Because of Kenya’s progress, because of your potential, you can build your future right here right now… We are investing in youth, we are investing in the young people of Kenya… It’s the young people who must take the lead.”

Obama said young people were the continent’s future leaders and that was why he was investing in them and connecting them through programmes such as his Young African Leadership Initiative.

In the Kenyan spirit of harambee – togetherness – he noted that people should be given opportunities according to the content of their characters and not judged by stereotypes.

“There is a proverb that says, ‘we have not inherited this land from our fore-bears, but have borrowed it from our children’. In other words we study the past so that it can guide us into the future and inspire us to do better… The youth, I believe there’s no limit to what you can achieve. A young ambitious Kenyan today should not have to do what my grandfather did and serve a foreign master.”

“In our Young African Leaders Initiative, we are empowering and connecting young people, connecting young people from across the continent who are filled with energy and optimism and idealism and are gonna take Africa to new heights,” Obama said.

He also praised Kenyan Richard Ruto for his initiative “Yes Youth Can”, a civil society organisation formed after the 2007/8 election violence and inspired by Obama’s 2008 election victory. The organisation has over one million members and is making progress in stopping incitement to political violence and giving opportunities to young people affected by conflict.

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Graca Machel giving her input during the plenary session on “Closing the Economic Equality Gap” at the 25th World Economic Forum conference held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Picture: Ian Landsberg

Cape Town – While there were more women in politics in Africa, the numbers were dismal when it came to economic participation, senior women leaders said at the World Economic Forum on Africa on Thursday.

“There is an illusion of progress, rather than actual progress. We have been very busy, but we haven’t produced real change,” said a candid Phumzile Malambo-Ngcuka, who heads up UN Women, during a session at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

 

Graca Machel, who wears many hats, including being the founder of the Foundation for Community Development, agreed, saying that most women were still in the informal economy on the continent.

“The informal economy… is about survival… they don’t prosper. And in the formal sector, you only get a few faces of women,” she said.

They were speaking at the session on how to close the economic equality gap. Globally, women earned between 10% and 30% less than men. Compared to men, only half of women were in full-time wage paying jobs.

Machel said that if the economic gap was to be closed, countries needed targeted programmes to train women in enterprise development so that they could enter the formal economy.

“We have to have targeted programmes… not tokens,” she said.

Robert Collymore, who is the CEO of leading mobile network operator in Kenya, Safaricom, said during the discussion that education opportunities for girls needed to be looked at from the beginning.

Also, women were just as at fault as men in that when they got into leadership positions, they forgot about other women, he said.

“I have seen so many women when they hit the C-Suite showing the same bias オンライン カジノ (as men),” said Collymore.

Women currently make up only 14% of the composition on company boards in Africa.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said that while it was important to increase the representation of women and the quality of women, at the same time men had to be held more to account to ensure greater numbers.

The seminar heard details on what Rwanda had done to improve the economic gender gap since the Rwandan genocide in the 90s. The country ranks seventh in the world when it comes to equal rights.

Claver Gatete, the Rwandan Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said that besides focusing on the numbers of women in various sectors, Rwanda had introduced a legal framework to develop women and girls, which even included managing access to land.

 

He said that currently more girls were in primary school than boys. And while it was the opposite in secondary schools, more girls were passing.

 

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The country will probably fail to meet the millennium development goals as statistics suggest women are not benefiting from legislative gains.

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With less than a year left until the deadline for countries to reach the millennium development goals set by the United Nations, the majority of women in South Africa are not benefitting from gains made in terms of gender equality. This is in part caused by gender-based violence, according to the Commission for Gender Equality.

Eight of the goals, which address global issues such as health and education, were adopted in 2000 by 189 countries were to be achieved by December 31 2015.

The development goals aimed at promoting gender equality and empowering women includes targets such as an equal enrolment ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions as well as equal levels of literacy across genders. South Africa is on track to achieve these.

Another target is the employment of men and women in a 50/50 ratio and both genders should have similar levels of employment. But the country is predicted to fail to achieve this by the end of the year.

The share of women in the non-agricultural employment sector has increased from 43% in 1996 to 45% in 2012 (the latest available figure), and 77% of women earned the same amount as men, according to 2010 figures from Statistics South Africa.

Good in theory

In 2012 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked South Africa fourth out of 87 countries on their social institutions and gender index. But last year the country dropped dramatically to 90th position out of 148 nations.

The OECD says this drop is largely because women find it difficult to use the justice system. UN research shows that nearly 67?000 sexual offences were reported between April 2012 and March 2013, yet only 6% of these led to convictions.

While the country’s laws protect women in theory, the OECD says there “remain challenges with the application and enforcement of the law”.

The Commission for Gender Equality’s spokesperson, Javu Baloyi, says that although South Africa increased the representation of women in Parliament from 3% in 1994 to 44% in 2009, “more women are needed in ­positions of authority in various committees [of Parliament] such as speakers, deputy ministers, ministers and presidents that will translate into reality to women on the ground”.

Baloyi says South Africa cannot achieve complete gender equality because many women – particularly those in the rural areas – do not have access to reproductive health services, and the government is slow in dealing with gender-based violence.

Limited co-ordination

According to a 2014 study by the international finance company, KPMG, domestic and gender-based violence against women is high across all racial and economic demographics in South Africa and costs the country’s economy between R28.4-billion and R42.4-billion each year.

The study further states that the female homicide rate in 2009 was five times the global average.

In 2012 the National Council on Gender Based Violence was established to drive the implementation and monitor the progress of government programmes. But gender activists say that the council is “not being well co-ordinated”.

The department of women is responsible for the acceleration of women’s empowerment and admits that the already high levels of inequality between men and women are exacerbated by gender-based violence.

The department’s Motalatale Modiba says that violence “constrains the participation of women and girls in development and hampers the consolidation of democracy”.

“The paradox of progressive legislation and solid policies with little impact on outcomes for women and ­children remains. This paradox is evident in the area of gender based violence.”

He admits that although violence against women is “notoriously hard to measure” there is “ample evidence that physical, sexual and psychological violence as well harmful traditional practices committed against women and girls is widespread in the country [and] often the perpetrator is a male partner or family member”.

 

Major General A. Mateisi walks to the podium at the event. Pic: Supplied

Police

As the country celebrated Mother’s Day, the police women’s network cluster in Krugersdorp, Gauteng gathered at Mogale Lodge Business Park to honour and show appreciation towards mothers and mother figures under the theme “embracing motherhood”.

The event was attended by, amongst others, motivational speaker Dr Lillian Cingo and many policewomen in senior ranks. Cingo said this is an important day as it teaches about embracing motherhood.

“On this day, we are affirming mothers and women. For me, this day means you do not need to a biological mother to be a mother. There are women out there who are mothering children they don’t even know. There are fathers who are mothering their children, so we are celebrating that,” added Cingo.

“I am very impressed by what I saw here. I really congratulate giving women equal opportunities in positions, we are seeing more policewomen in leadership positions,” added Cingo.

To all women out there, I say, we can do it, let’s hang in there and never lose hope, said Cingo.

Krugersdorp Cluster Commander, Major General A. Mateisi said this is a very important day as a mother casino online and a woman serving the community and the nation. “As a woman in leadership, I often get a challenge as most men do not believe that women can be in charge, so I always have to prove to men that woman can lead,” she added.

Mateisi urged all women to stand up firm and never let themselves down. “We need strong and brave women who can take decisions on their own. We can do it,” she said.

Major M.A. Enoch said: “Mothers are the first teachers in our lives. Being a mother is a full-time job without salary. It takes lots of responsibilities and bravery to be a mother. As mothers, we are serving and protecting; and I am grateful to be such a mother. I want to wish all mothers out there a very happy Mother’s Day”.

Tarlton police spokesperson Constable Lucky Matome said there is no way to be a perfect mother… but a million ways to be a good one.

“We are all mothers in different ways. Mothers play a vital role in the society. We are who we are today because of them, but there are also fathers who play both roles, hence I said we are all mothers in different ways,” added Matome.

Link: http://citizen.co.za/379633/police-honour-women-on-mothers-day/

Two decades ago, Alison Botha was abducted, raped, stabbed more than thirty times, almost decapitated and left for dead. Defying the odds, she survived. Her story has gripped the nation ever since. While Alison now faces the possibility of parole for her attackers – who were sentenced to life imprisonment – a sinister discovery has shed light on the activity of one of her attackers behind prison bars. Carte Blanche investigates.

 

Watch full video here: http://carteblanche.dstv.com/player/846664#

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