Last week, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gobwee won the the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Tawakkul Karman from Yemen for their work of bringing peace in non-violent ways in their countries. I met Leymah last year at the Man Up Campaign conference alongside the World Cup in South Africa. I have interviewed President Sirleaf twice. I thought it was very significant for African women to be recognised in the area of peace and security. Most often the image of African women is that of a victim of war and not a participant in bringing about peace.
Here is what I shared with Al Jazeera Newshour the day the winners were announced on Friday 7 October.
This week at the press briefing in Kigali, I asked President Paul Kagame what this prize meant for Africa.
I am only happy for the women of Africa. We need to go beyond this being a symbol for women. Women need attention not just in Africa but in the rest of the world. When I travel and read i see marginalisation of women. We appreciate the quest to empower women and have them as an integral part of our society on equal terms. But as we get help here in Africa, i feel we may need to take this help to some of these countries. For instance you go to discuss business in these countries and all their boards have about 20 men and one or two women. They too need help. This Prize is a reminder that we should work beyond the prize that was given for us to meet expectations of women of Africa. We need more women presidents!
In the interview I mentioned the status of women in South Sudan and I intend to write a separate post soon from my recent trip to Juba and interactions with women leaders in that country.