Women step up the fight

The Pan African Women's Congress (Pawo) which met in South Africa this week has resolved to look closely into the victimisation of women in war-torn Africa.

The women were concerned about slave trafficking, deaths from the Aids pandemic and the underdevelopment of women on the continent. These were rightly seen as deterrents to the development of the continent.

Pawo has taken a strong stand which is likely to be challenged and opposed by the patriarchal and religious systems that govern most African countries.

We salute Pawo's new path of empowering women. Girls in Africa still receive little or no education, are sacrificed in favour of the boys and, in most cases, are perceived to be mere servants of men.

Their personal desire for self-realisation is shot down by their mothers and grandchildren. Women are oppressed by myriad laws of morality and religion. They are treated as spoils of war, enduring rape and starvation.

The time has come for women to unite to unlock the great potential that is going to waste. Women have a lot to contribute to the development of the continent. Africa will not rise to its full prosperity unless women are involved in decision making. We urge everyone to support the new initiative to free women from the yoke of the past.