The call to “Think Gender” – was what brought together numerous women from various walks of life to Johannesburg South Africa from April 28- May 3, for the 2013 Women Advancement Forum held in South Africa. Held at the Birchwood Hotels and Conference centre, at the behest of the African Business Network (ABN), the forum was indeed one of the most relevant and effective conferences in addressing and advancing women issues in Africa today. Speaking around Millennium Development Goals and how far Africa had gone towards achieving them, many agreed though women had increased representation in high-level positions there were still a number of shortcomings, especially as the milestone for the MDG’s is 2015. The concensus is that women need to take-on more active roles in politics, economy and social empowerment. There were over a hundred participants from 8+ countries in Africa and across the globe including – South Africa, Nigeria, The Gambia, Zambia, Malalwi also United Kingdom and Canada.
The delegations from all the countries included first ladies, female speakers/deputy speakers of the parliament, female ministers, commissioners, legislators, Directors in the public/private sector, Directors of women affairs of political parties, female entrepreneurs, business women, public and private office holders, CEO’s/ Managing directors, women members of chamber of commerce, women business associations and NGOs attending the conference. There was an exhibition by the women’s businesses, and a gala night at which most of the speakers received awards for their contributions to women’s advancement.
The wife of the Ogun state governor, Olufunso Amosun (Mrs.) and the chairman House committee on aviation, Lady Nkireuka Onyejeocha, were among the awardees. The event convener Mr. Charles Chikezie of ABN was indeed delighted at the turn out and reminded women to spread the word to ensure next year’s conference scheduled for Gambia would be even more resounding.