SPEECH DELIVERED ON THE LAUNCH OF THE YOUNG AFRICAN WOMEN CONGRESS (YAWC 2016) BY MARANATHA AGYEI TIWAA ON 18TH NOVEMBER, 2015 AT THE AIRPORT VIEW HOTEL

Madam Chairperson, Distinguished Promoters of YAWC 2016, members of the media, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I deem it a great honour to be called upon to deliver the rationale for the Young African Women Congress.

The ExLA Group through its gender programme, has a mandate to harness, nurture and empower women for global leadership and development. It is therefore not out of place that the Young African Women Congress (YAWC), an initiative of the ExLA Group Gender Programme seeks to congregate young educated African women to address relatable issues of women development on the African continent. Areas of concentration in the maiden edition will include gender disparities in education particularly at the higher levels, women in decision making, Sexual harassment, Teenage pregnancy among others.

The Young African Women Congress comes at a time that the UN Women has published its report on the progress of women participation in economic and social development of their societies while the world gears up to accomplish the new targets set in the Sustainable Development Goal. The congress concentrates on sustainable development goal five which seeks

to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

The time is now for women to rise above all obstacles. African women must take charge of all situations to ensure not only their personal development but the development of their dependents and the continents at large. It is the sole aim and number one priority of the maiden edition of YAWC that women would be motivated to rise through the ranks of leadership and become very successful in their respective fields in order to contribute their quota to the development this continent seeks so urgently.

 

In Ghana and many other African countries, there have been deliberate policies and legislations geared towards women’s development, yet a lot more needs to be done. It is about time that women themselves took up such responsibilities. Indeed it is in this same context that the Young African Women Congress will have over thirty eight accomplished African women leaders to lead discussions of the outlined issues ranging from Women in decision making, Reproductive health, Journey to wealth creation, media arts and entertainment among others. These speakers who are all women have being carefully selected from different

sectors in order for the messages to penetrate well into the participants and the effects there after.

 

The theme for the programme is The Modern Woman Leader; revising the status quo. The modern woman is different, the modern woman is for change, the modern woman indeed is in to make positive impacts that will affect all other sectors of her life. The modern woman takes task and accomplish them successfully. Indeed some research have proven that women are more productive when given certain key positions to occupy.

 

We have reached a stage in the world where concentration on women is vital towards our development as

a continent. It is for this reason that the Young African Women Congress (YAWC) seeks not to only gather reputable women as speakers and participants but rather to come out with tangible

solutions to certain problems typically associated with women on the continent. Unlike other conferences in the past, YAWC seeks to follow up on all problems identified and release a white paper with respect to that. Post YAWC will see vibrant young women tackling some of the hindrances of women and making sure such issues do not resurface. Indeed, Just as Helen Keller puts it ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much’. There is the need to gather a pool of inspiring women to support the agenda of figuring out what some women can do with their

lives, how to identify one’s self, deal with issues of abuse among a host of many others. The maiden edition of YAWC will take place from 4th to 8th July 2016 in Accra Ghana. This congress will have 450 participants all women from across the continents and are between the ages of 20 and 30.These young educated women will be taken through the plenary sessions, group discussions, career fair and a fun trip to the beautiful tourist sites in some part of Ghana.

It is important to note that the subsequent YAWCs will be rotating around the continent. The intent is to make sure all African women have a feel of the congress and the progress it can bring to African women.

I beseech all major stakeholders, policy makers, proposed speakers, promoters, media men and women to come on board and help make YAWC a reality and to achieve all other objectives of this distinguished programme.

On this note, I will invite the YAWC team and other promoters here to help in cutting this cake to commemorate the launch of the Young African Women Congress 2016.

Thank you.