A panel convened on 4th April 2024 at the Residence of H.E. Maria del Rosario Mina Rojas of Colombia, titled “Working to Materialise African Women’s Agency.” This collaborative effort was spearheaded by H.E. Ms. Ayşegül Kandaş of the Embassy of Turkiye and the Embassy of Colombia.

The distinguished speakers included Professor Thulisile Madonsela, Director of the Centre for Social Justice at Stellenbosch University; Ms. Diana Sierra, CEO and Founder of Be Girl INC; Princess Tshepi Motloung, Managing Director of Naledi Ya Tshepi Business Consulting; Advocate Mtho Xulu, President of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Mr. Siya Xuza, Founder and Managing Director of Galactic Energy Ventures. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Mohamed Cassim.

Globally, women face various forms of violence due to deep-rooted gender disparities at social and economic levels, leading to a crisis of inequity and inequality. Despite being more than half of the global population, women remain the most vulnerable to poverty and deprivation. South Africa and many African countries share these challenges, with women disproportionately affected despite strides in policy frameworks.

While policies strive to achieve gender equality, much remains on paper without tangible outcomes. Collaboration across sectors and philanthropic efforts have made significant contributions, with individual initiatives working towards closing gender gaps in areas like reproductive health and the labour market.

The panelists shared their experiences and successful initiatives, inspiring and motivating the audience. The event provided a platform to identify actions towards African women’s empowerment and well-being.

Closing remarks from H.E. Kandaş and H.E. Mina Rojas were followed by a captivating performance by soprano Ms. Hlumelo Ledwaba, rounding off the evening.

by Marion Kate