By Hannah Ondiek
“Women must remove barriers to economic emancipation”, the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma challenged women.
Are young women in Africa celebrating with the world? This is a pertinent question we need to ask as the world celebrated International Youth Day on 12th August, 2012 themed “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth”. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s five-year Action Plan on Youth priority areas include; employment, entrepreneurship, education, political inclusion and protection of rights which include young women’s rights.
On 25th and 26th July 2011, the United Nations held a High Level Meeting on Youth at the UN headquarters. One of the 2 thematic panel discussions at the meeting was on the challenges to youth development and opportunities for poverty eradication, employment and sustainable development. The Secretary General’s speech noted that unemployment rates for youth globally is 3 to 6 times the rate for adults. This is especially the case for young women, disabled and indigenous youth.
The joint statement of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) noted the importance of the participation of young women to increase the commitments made and investments to promote the youth development.
Women in Africa have been having deliberations and are working to have women’s full participation and have pledged to fight for inclusive growth. This was seen especially at the Second African Women Economic Summit in Lagos, Nigeria on 12th to 14th July 2012.
One of the ten themes in the African Women’s Decade 2010-2020 is on the Young Women’s Movement in Africa. I urge young women to rise up and take the mantle. We are the successor generation of leaders and we need to be seen as worthy of this title in all areas of development. We need to recognize the structures in place and not wait to be handed our rights on a silver platter but claim them. They say that good things come to those who wait but only those left by those who ‘hustle’.
Let us as women’s rights organization give young women a reason to celebrate!