AfDB Supports 100th Women’s Day Celebrations

08/03/2011
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Tunis, March 8, 2011 - The AfDB Women’s Network launched a new Scholarship Fund for women’s education on Tuesday in Tunis. This initiative was to mark the 100th anniversary of the International Women's Day, organized this year on the theme, “Equal Access to education, Training, Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women”. The Bank also held discussions with women who are exemplary in their field of expertise. Tunisia, host country to the AfDB’s Temporary Relocation Agency, maintains an impressive 56% female students enrolled in science subjects.

In light of this very encouraging figure, Zohra Ben Lakhdar, Physics professor at Tunis University, Lalla Ben Barka, Deputy Director General of UNESCO and Aicha Bah Diallo, Vice-President of the Federation of African Women Educationalists, exchanged views with two AfDB experts, Ginette Nzau Muteta, in charge of poverty reduction and Emily Nwankwo, diversity specialist, on the many challenges to improving women's access to scientific and technical training. Three hundred men and women attended the event.

The AfDB president, Donald Kaberuka, gave his full support to the event. Nkosana Moyo, COO and Vice-President, said that the AfDB, as an institution, encourages women among its employees. "In 2010, the proportion of women in AfDB management stood at over 27%, up from just fewer than 8% in 2006." He also stressed the crucial importance for the continent’s development to have women with access to science and technology. "African countries need both male and female brains to achieve economic growth."

Through its projects, the AfDB constantly supports and promotes equal access to education and training for women, as this a sine qua non to improving their empowerment on the African continent. Some steps have helped increase girls’ enrollment rate, such as building specific health and accommodation facilities for female teachers, especially in rural and remote areas. However, there is still much room for progress as less than half of Africa’s young women currently have access to secondary education. By way of support, the AfDB Women's Network announced the creation of a new Scholarship Fund for Women’s Education, which should be operational in the coming year.