AU Selects First Female Leader
The African Union has chosen Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as its first-ever female leader. Dlamini-Zuma, who currently serves as South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, won the spot over Jean Ping of Gabon. The close contest was won in the third round of voting when Dlamini-Zuma received votes from 37 of the 54 members. Read it all here.
Nigeria Swears in First Female Chief of Justice
Nigeria makes history this week as President Goodluck Jonathan swears in the country’s first female Chief of Justice, Aloma Mariam Mukhtar. Mukhtar has a long history of being the first. In fact, she was the first female from Northern Nigeria to become a lawyer and also the first woman to be appointed a justice in the Court of Appeals. Even more, she was the first female justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Read more here.
Saudi Arabian Women First to Compete in Olympics
Last month Saudi authorities lifted a long time ban on women competing in the Olympic Games. Despite having a limited amount of time to qualify, there are now officially two female athletes heading to London later this month to represent Saudi Arabia for the first time in history. Sarah Attar will compete in the 800m and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in the judo competition. Read more here.
Women Await Independence from Poverty in South Sudan
This month marked one year since South Sudan celebrated its independence and became the world’s newest nation. Now the country’s women are saying they have not experienced the positive social, economic, and political changes they were hoping for. One particular area that desperately needs attention is maternal health. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the country recorded 2,054 out of every 100,000 women died during childbirth in 2011 and there has been little to no improvement since. Another area greatly in need of attention is education: Only one percent of girls complete primary school and 88 percent of women are illiterate. Read it all here.
Young Girl Becomes Village Head in India
At just 18 years old, Afsana Badi, a Muslim girl from Kankot village in Gujarat, a village in the Rajkot district, has become the youngest sarpanch (village head) in the country. Although new to politics, Afsana intends to focus on improving education for girls and has already pledged to build more schools and classrooms for girls in her village. Read it here.
Growing Number of Bolivian Women Elected to Office
In a country where women have traditionally been held to domestic roles, a growing number of indigenous women in Bolivia are getting involved in politics and running for office. This movement is largely due to the country’s 2009 constitution that states women must occupy 50 percent of all elected government positions. At present, 43 percent of the mayors and councilpersons in Bolivia’s 327 local governments are women, and 96 percent of them are holding public office for the first time. Read more.
Women’s Development Key to Economic Growth in Nigeria
Speaking at the African Women Economic Summit, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala–Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy–delivered her keynote address ‘Sustaining the African Women Economy: A 20 Million-Dollar Opportunity’. In her speech she stressed the importance of empowering women through education and specialized banks that catered specifically to female entrepreneurs looking to establish small and medium sized ventures. She went on to say one of the key ingredients to economic growth is gender equality. Read it all here.