Liberian vice president Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor has told the Coalition of Women in Africa for Peace (COWAP’s) organized second edition of the African Women Summit that females’ empowerment is a pivotal point aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a holistic and meaningful way.

The African Women Summit is annually hosted by COWAP, and it brings together women in politics, wives of presidents and vice-presidents in Africa, visionaries and global experts from different fields of human endeavor in order to share their stories, brainstorm on ideas to launch initiatives targeted at creating sustainable peace and development in Africa. This year’s version is being held from 5to 6 August, in the city of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

In her Keynote Address: “New Dynamics of engagement
for women in politics Post COVID 19”, on 5 August, at the African Women Summit-2021, VP Howard-Taylor said “Let me state initially that the achievement of SDG’s in a holistic and meaningful way, centers upon one pivotal point – the empowerment of Females,” adding, “For think about it, when one female is empowered, she changes the dynamics of her entire family, and secures those changes for the next generation.

She stressed that providing an environment for her family to by itself achieve the SDG goals from 1 to 7. If that empowerment is sustained goals 8 thru 12 are realizable.

“What then is left on the bucket list are goals 13 thru 16 which are the responsibilities of national governments. And last but not the least is the final SDG goal number 17 – for which we are gathered here,” VP Howard-Taylor pointed out.

She disclosed that she is of the opinion that women should not get stuck on the issues of every goal as bits and pieces, but look instead on the concept of total empowerment of females; across regions.

Therefore, Vice President Howard-Taylor informed participants at the 2021 African Women Summit that their central point of deliberations on peace, education, poverty and hunger are goals that can be reached – just thru SDG goal number 5, which is Gender Equality.

“You see, it’s often said that “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” said VP Howard-Taylor, who admonished participants that in so doing, all they seek is in just one package under Gender Equality.

She stated that the glaring truth is that a post Covid-19 world has further exacerbated the acute reminder of the challenges facing women across the world, especially the need to put in specific measures to protect women’s rights, enhance gender equality and genuinely effect measures to close the gender gaps.

VP Howard-Taylor: “While others have important roles to play which help this process, the most important roles are those performed by women themselves, especially in the field of politics. I am aware that most women don’t like politics; but it’s the fastest way to both – either truly transform our societies or destroy societies; as can be seen throughout history. And each – female – has a significant role to play, especially those who have gathered here in this historic city; with the greatest lesson of how one person, with a vision for transformation can change their world.”

The Liberian Veep, who referred to women’s empowerment as simple yet profound point, noted that it cannot be over stated, saying, “for it has become a glaring fact as stated many years ago, by Chinese leader Mao Zedong, who said and I quote: “Women hold up half of the sky.”

She asserted that is participants at this year’s version of the African Women Summit believe what she referred to as truism from Chinese leader Zedong, then their focus must remain on pushing their agenda, until things change in a significant way.

She then informed the participant about what can be done by each of them in achieving such a fete, admonishing them that they can individually vote with their time, wallet, and social media accounts; for many, many more women leaders to take the stage of leadership and governance across the world.

“You can run for political office, you can work hard and climb the corporate ladder, you can start your own venture, you can form coalitions to provide support to women leaders, you can mentor others to succeed and support them in achieving their dreams, you can ensure that women are hired in places where you work and invest in them to succeed, you can join your voice to others in advocating for generational equality across our spheres, and last but not the least, you can be the best example of transformational leadership, thus securing the space for others to follow in your path,” VP Howard-Taylor emphasized.

She intimated that gender equality and empowerment begins in the mind, stating that “It is our perception and compass which allows each of us, to treat others as we would like to be treated.”

But she was quick to point out that as selfish beings, this does not happen automatically, indicating, “it takes acceptance of these principles and daily practice to make it a reality – Thankfully, there are examples all around us; from the women who continue the fight for empowerment and equality; to the HE4SHE Champions who stand beside women in the trenches and even those who raise their voices against the grain – who remind us that there is much more to be done.”

“I therefore leave you with a quote from one of Africa’s best sons – Kofi Anan who helped changed the United Nations with his belief; and I quote: “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance,” VP Howard-Taylor said, adding, “The choice is now left to each of us, to join the battle, support the battle and remain in the battle for Women’s Empowerment and Generational Equality for a better World.”

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