African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) CSW 65 Side Event




H.E. Dr Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi and AWLN Pioneer

Mr Paul Empole Efambe Losoko, Charge d’affaires a.i., Permanent Mission of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the UN.

Dr Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

H.E. Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN

Representatives of AWLN National Chapters

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let me start with deep appreciation to the organizers of this AWLN side event that has brought us together on the margins of the 65th session of the CSW. We continue to meet virtually due to the pandemic of COVID-19 that has caused so much disruption.

We are holding this CSW as we continue to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, the visionary global agenda for achieving women’s equal participation in all areas of life.

Please allow me to pause a moment and recognize and salute my Sister Dr Phumzile Mlmabo-Ngcuka, for continuing with determination and leadership the Beijing Agenda and bringing us to the Generation Equality Forum, which is starting in few days.

Looking back at those years, we know that Africa made progress, by and large, thanks to the determination, resilience and solidarity of African women.

As we set out to take stock, evaluate and define paths for the acceleration of our actions, COVID—19 erupted, showing once more that in times of crisis, women and girls bear the brunt of violence, particularly, gender-based violence, a scourge that continues to hamper women’s rights to peace and dignity and impact on women’s leadership.

Yet, the presentations, experiences and lessons shared today have highlighted that African women are at the forefront of the response to the crisis. Women leadership matters.  We have seen a strong recommitment by African women, in particular through AWLN to build back better. We applaud the efforts of the 25 chapters, represented here regionally and the continued mobilization to ensure that women join hands in each corner of the continent to push forward the agenda for transformation.

We have opportunities to seize.  In February 2020, Africa Heads of State and Government adopted the period 2020-2030 as the Decade for Women Economic and Financial Inclusion. We know that access to finances has hampered women’s efforts for far too long. This new decade offers us the opportunity to deliver on the pledge to make women financial inclusion a reality.  We should build strong monitoring and reporting mechanisms to measure progress in five years to come and fulfil the promise by 2030.

In November 2020, AWLN organized the second intergenerational dialogue, piloted by the AWLN Young Women Leaders Caucus, as a central piece of the vision to build a sustained African women leadership, and ensure that African women bear the torch of change on the continent.

These initiatives and others are a testimony of women engagements and unwavering drive. 

As Governments and other stakeholders strive to rebuild a post-COVID-19 ecosystem, gender-responsive responses must be integrated into solutions. The Au has adopted a set of such measures and we look forward to their implementation, stressing that women must be at the tables of decision.

I would like to urge all women leaders to continue advocating for bold changes and solutions that will sustain the gains made over the years. I would also like to urge AWLN national chapters’ to join and contribute towards Generation Equality by being part of the Generation Equality Action Coalitions and the Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Global Compact.

As we have said several times, it is an action that will change things. Women are known for their actions. Let us federate our efforts and make change happen. 

As I conclude, I wish to express my gratitude to all panelists and participants for this successful panel. AWLN is our movement. Together, we will build an inclusive Africa, where no one is left behind.

I thank you for your attention