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African Governments Must Commit To Developing Female Leaders By Investing In Health, Education Of Women, Girls

Project Syndicate: Africa’s Women Belong at the Top
Joyce Banda, founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation and former president of Malawi

“…Today, more than 130 million girls worldwide are out of school through no fault of their own. … Some are victims of harmful cultural practices, like female genital mutilation and child marriage, while others are unable to escape the poverty that grips their families and communities. … Changing endemic cultural norms about gender and identity — and developing more female leaders — begins in the classroom. School-age girls must be taught to value themselves and one another, and that it is their right to be educated, healthy, and empowered. … [G]overnments must recommit to supporting female leaders’ development by investing in the health and education of women and girls. … [W]hen governments increase the percentage of women in their ranks, social issues like health care, education, and food security receive higher priority. Having more women in leadership is thus good for everyone. … To give more young women the opportunity to develop their talents and put their skills to work, today’s leaders must clear a path for the female leaders of tomorrow” (9/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.