The US First Lady, Michelle Obama has stressed the important role of women in ensuring a better future in Africa and the world at large, adding that Africa’s future lay with women-run businesses as well as girls attaining tertiary education.
While addressing a group of 500 young African leaders (participants the inaugural Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders) in Washington on Wednesday, Mrs Obama noted that women have made remarkable progress in Africa, but there is still some serious work to do in Africa and across the globe.
“In many countries in Africa, women have made tremendous strides. More girls are attending school. With leaders like you who are making those dreams possible, Africa’s future is bright,” she stated.
She noted that women now start and run successful businesses in the continent and that more women are now serving in the parliament than ever before, while adding that the new exposure has also greatly reduced maternal mortality.
The First Lady however warned that the progress enjoyed in Africa could be derailed if the continent fails to stamp out practices like segregation in the workplace.
“A century ago, women in America weren’t allowed to vote, and decades ago, it was perfectly legal for employers to refuse to hire women,” the First Lady gave as an example.
She noted that this has changed as people of conscience stood up and rejected “these unjust practices.”
According to her, “the results of those hard-fought battles are evident today – 60 percent of college students today are women. Women also make up more than half the workforce, and women’s employment has added nearly $2-trillion to the U.S. economy in recent decades.”
She expects African women to continue working hard to sustain the growth of the continent by getting more involved in key sectors of its economy. (VENTURES AFRICA)