African Girls and Young Women Demand Action on International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day, a roar echoes across the halls African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. It’s not a rumble of discontent, but the thunderous call from African girls and young women who are part of the She Leads Consortium.  Their amplified voices are echoing a chorus determined to reshape the destiny of the African continent.

For too long, these girls and young women views have been silenced, their potential muzzled, their contributions dismissed. But the ground is shifting, and Africa can no longer ignore them because investing in girls and women isn’t philanthropy – it’s a strategic imperative.

Speaking in Addis Ababa, Nancy Baraza from Kenya broke the silence and said,” This International Women’s Day, our states must commit to challenge biases and amplifying girls and young women’s voices.”

“We need a more equitable world for young women and girls to craft solutions for liberation in all spheres of life. As we commemorate this international day we also want our rights and freedom of speech to be realized and respect,” lauded Nancy Baraza from Zamara Foundation. Nancy is also the incumbent member of the She Leads Pan African Advisory Board for Kenya.

Accordingly, Felicity Feleke, She Leads Pan African Board Member from Ethiopia said, “The fight for gender equality isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. It’s about ensuring basic human rights and building a world that works for everyone.”

Feleke underscored that investing in women is investing in progress – real, tangible progress that benefits for all of humanity.

She also believes that African Union should make good their promise a finance gender equality. Her views came in the wake of a postponed Africa Girls Summit that was meant to be hosted by the African Union in Mauritania early this year.

Hajaratu Bangura, a member of She Leads Pan African Advisory Board from Sierra Leone also underscored the importance of Africa to invest in women and girls, citing that their spaces should not be muzzled because the continent will gain from them.

In solidarity, Sharon Bakuchama from Ghana called upon leaders to recognize the inherent strength of today’s young women. “Invest in us, create space for our voices, and witness the birth of a world that is not just better, but radically more inclusive and bursting with possibilities,” Bakuchama proclaimed.

The She leads girls and young women spoke on the presence of Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the Deputy Chairperson (DCP) for the African Union Commission. Their views underscore that Africa’s future hangs in the balance of good will and justice for African women and girls.

Time will tell whether the voices of the girls and young women will make a significant change in the African Union Space. But one thing is certain: Africa cannot afford to ignore this potent force for progress any longer. The future of the continent hinges on the empowerment of its women, and the question before the African Union is simple – will they choose progress or remain tethered to the past?

The aforementioned was co-created by the members of the She Leads Pan African Board and Imali Ngusale, for more information about the African Girls and young women email Esther Nyawira via .

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