What We Can Learn From African Union Summit’s View On Women Empowerment

The recent African Union Summit concluded that women empowerment is crucial for the continent’s development. For this to happen, Africa needs to address the issues that its women face, and harness their economic and political potential.

The 25th African Union Summit made women empowerment one of its key objectives in order to reach its goal of development. Under its theme of “2015 Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063,” the Summit aims to recognise the potential of women and provide them access to resources to enhance their economic and political participation. The Agenda 2063envisions Africa as a peaceful and prosperous country by year 2063, with its citizens at the forefront of development. For this to happen, women need to take part in bringing about change.

The Summit acknowledged the role of gender equality in development. “Women…are yearning for peace, for themselves, their children, their families and communities, to live normal lives, to plough their fields and to educate their children,” said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the AU Summit. When women feel safe and secure, they are able to find work, and provide education for their children. In turn, this enables children and the next generation to access better opportunities in the future.

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On International Day of Families, calls for gender equality to start in the home

On the International Day of Families, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the importance of gender equality in preventing gender-based violence and upholding children’s rights in the family. For this to happen, men and women need to be equal decision-makers in the home, he said.

Gender equality in the home is crucial to ending violence

Growing up in a household where gender equality is practiced reduces the incidence of violence against women and children, according to the findings of local and international studies done by a Norwegian commission. Furthermore, these studies showed that children coming from these households are more likely to support gender equality and oppose violence when they become adults. These findings offer us a lasting solution against gender-based violence. To achieve this, however, we need to ensure that gender equality is first achieved at home. Hence, this has been the message of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the International Day of Families held last May 15.

“Around the world, more women are becoming recognized as the equal partners and decision makers in families that they should be, thus helping to ensure an environment conducive for the full and harmonious development of children,” he said.

So, how can women become equal decision-makers in the household?

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One more thing that domestic violence campaigns need to do

To address the issue of domestic violence head on, widespread awareness is critical. Various ad campaigns seek to achieve this by taking on the issue of domestic violence from different angles and inspire its audience to do something about it.

These campaigns will move you to act on domestic violence

Children are bundles of innocence and joy – you rarely consider them to have a better perspective on life than a full grown adult. And what is surprising, and even powerful, is when the young ones in our lives understand proper behaviour and etiquette better than adults.

We can see this evidently portrayed in a video about domestic violence from Italian newspaper Fanpage.it. In this clip, young boys aged seven to 12 years were asked about their aspirations, when they were introduced to a lovely girl named Martina. They were asked to make funny faces at her and to caress her lovingly, to which they complied. But, there was one thing that they refused to do.

“Slap her!” the interviewer told each one them. Each one responded with a firm “no.” When asked why, they all said that girls should never be hit. “As the saying goes, ‘girls shouldn’t be hit, not even with a flower’,” one of them said.

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Davos World Economic Forum P5O

Does the World Economic Forum in Davos reflect the global gender gap?

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, only 17% of the participants are women. Pundits may be quick to note the event as a reflection of the global gender gap, but it is not. 

The answer to the question in the title? No, it does not reflect global gender gap. 

Why “no”? Clearly, women were underrepresented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. At the event, women made up 17% of the participants. However, this does not infer that WEF fosters gender inequality. In fact, gender diversity is one of its main topics. Under the banner of “The New Global Context,” WEF aims to expand the participation of women in business, politics, education and other global issues. Actress Emma Watson, goodwill ambassador for U.N. Women, spoke of what women can contribute to the society if they were allowed more opportunities.

“They know that the world is being held back in every way, because they are not. Women share this planet 50/50 and they are under-represented, their potential astonishingly untapped,” she said.

In the past years, WEF considered women in attendance as wives only of CEOs attending. However, this perception has changed now, as female leaders offer insights on various matters at the World Economic Forum’s panels. Influential women executives who attended this year’s WEF included Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Apart from them, there’s also a new crop of prominent female leaders that graced the event. And of course, the WEF has a quota for partner companies to include one woman in their roster of delegates.

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Shonda Rhimes

The stark history of women and the glass ceiling, as told by Shonda Rhimes

In her thank-you speech, Hollywood executive producer Shonda Rhimes tells a strikingly honest account of women’s struggles in breaking the “glass ceiling.” Because of the work done in the past, women today now enjoy better career opportunities, Rhimes said.

“Do they know I haven’t broken any glass ceilings?”


In giving her thank-you speech for the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, Hollywood executive producer Shonda Rhimes told her audience that she asked her publicist this question. The person behind TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, Rhimes received the award for reshaping the role of women and promoting diversity in these plots. Nevertheless, she insisted that her work was minimally important, as compared to the effort given by generations of women before her.


“How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?”

Rhimes recounted the history of gender inequality in the entertainment industry. About 30 years ago, women were only designated to become secretaries, but not leaders in the field. Nevertheless, this had changed because women fought long and hard for equality. Those who had faced the glass ceiling first “ran back and forth” to hit it and weaken its structure. They had endured “cuts and bruises” in doing so, yet they never gave up. When Rhimes’ turn had come, she simply had to smash through a thin layer of ice.

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