Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma
2010-2020 has been declared the African Women’s Decade by the African Union General Assembly – a decade which aims to bring African women’s issues to the center of the continent’s development agenda. It’s main objective – “to re-invigorate commitments to accelerated implementation of agreed global and regional commitments of gender equality and women empowerment”. One of the core elements of the global and regional commitments to gender equality as highlighted in various international and continental instruments is facilitating opportunities for more women in decision-making positions.
While the contention ensues about an Anglopone vs Francophone headed African Union Commission and debates surge on whether the election of Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma entails domination by one of the continent’s major states, her climb up as African Union Commission Chairperson is a key milestone for the African Women’s Movement, especially in the first phase of a decade dedicated to us. Her election into office strongly symbolizes a fist through the glass ceiling of patriarchal authority embodied in the leadership of the African Union Commission (AUC) and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
A woman with a strong leadership background that took root during her freedom fighting years as a member of the African National Congress (ANC), service as a medical doctor, followed by serving three different presidencies in South Africa in key assignments, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma’s appointment serves as a beacon of strength and encouragements for women all over Africa.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the OAU. It’s been 10 years since the evolution of OAU to the AU. 60 years of discourse on the continent’s various development issues spearheaded by an evolving and important organization – and now at its helm is a female leader! What a celebration not only for women, but for all of Africa as a whole, in its strides towards gender equality.
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