In celebration of International Women’s Day, Asante Africa Foundation is proud to partner with The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY) to advocate for gender equality and development. We celebrate what we all know: to enable the future we want, we must recognize the enormous potential of half of the world’s population — women.
International Women’s Day is motivated by a common goal: to make the voices of women heard and to help change their life, status, and position in society so they are not trapped by social expectations, financial dependence or a lack of the right skills. Nowhere is this more of an issue than in Africa. While various African governments’ constitutions establish the principle of equality between men and women, some provisions of these laws and traditions still discriminate against women.
The Labor Codes, for example, require women to have permission by their husbands to perform salaried work and public services. In addition, women are paid about 60 percent of what men make. Married women also need the authorization of their husbands to sign legal documents. Correcting this situation is not only key to tomorrow’s African labor market, where an educated and skilled labor force will be in strong demand, but it can also help achieve personal life goals.
Most experts agree that the reforms needed to improve the lives of women in Africa, especially the rural areas of Africa, center around education. We have to make people understand that women and men are equal and that women can lead as well.
Asante Africa Foundation helps women in rural areas of Africa 0by investing in their futures through education access and quality. Asante Africa Foundation provides women with education and training, as well as health and social services counseling, to better their social and economic situations. Providing these services is not just good for equal rights — it’s essential to Africa’s competitiveness.
Asante Africa’s Integrative Teacher Training Program, implemented in Tanzania as a collaborative model for combining small, individually successful projects into a cohesive and scalable multi-faceted approach to improving the quality of education at the secondary level, is a great example of what is possible. The team successfully engaged local leaders and parents in rural communities was achieved a tactic for successfully mitigating social and cultural barriers to girls’ access and academic achievement.
After the economic crisis of the last decade, the world is desperately searching for a more sustainable and inclusive economic model that enables broader and lasting opportunity. We are convinced that women are and need to be an essential element of this model. Everyone is watching the emerging markets of the world like Africa, China, India, and Brazil. Mckinsey & Company notes that “The most promising emerging market is Africa, and women and their capability to add tremendous economic value and social growth.”
Asante Africa Foundation and The NGO Committee on the Status of Women both embrace and support the notion of unleashing the power of women. We know we must level the playing field and open opportunities for all — these are concepts deeply rooted in the philosophies of both organizations. This is why Asante Africa Foundation very much values its partnership with The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, a global champion for women and girls. This is why we both work to encourage and reward women and girls to create solutions that address the world’s most pressing challenges.
A little empowerment can go a long way.