Too few female leaders in Africa: Zuma
By ANA Port Elizabeth – The election of female heads of state and government in Africa happened too rarely and too slowly, President Jacob Zuma said. Speaking during the Africa for African Women’s Conference in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, Zuma reflected on the continent’s progress for women empowerment and the remaining challenges. “The continent is moving a bit slowly when it comes to electing female heads of state and government, compared to other regions in the world,” Zuma said. “The continent is also facing some challenges when it comes to the human development index. A lot must still be done to advance women and improve the quality of life. Zuma reflected on the transformation of leadership, as illustrated by the appointment of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as head of the AU Commission and said: “the continent is also full of women Ministers and parliamentarians”. He called on the continent’s stakeholders to advance women’s participation in the economy, enable them to own and inherit property or business, and provide them with the chance to grab opportunities the growing region presents. Zuma listed many of South Africa’s initiatives to drive women empowerment including the Working on Fire programme, the Mathematics and Science Camps for Girls, and the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Education & Empowerment initiative. “All these programmes have demonstrated that women excel when given the opportunity,” he said. Education was also a key area, with a commitment by Zuma to continue investing in women and girls. “By so doing, we are investing in the development of the nation as a whole,” said Zuma. “All this affirms that as African women, you are at the right place at the right time. You live in a continent that is growing and which should provide opportunities for all including women workers and those residing in rural areas,” he concluded.