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Joyce Banda joins Council of Women Leaders

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Former president, Joyce Banda, has joined the Council of Women Leaders, an organisation that uses women leaders to promote women’s participation and representation in politics.

The Council of Women Leaders is headquartered in Washington D.C., United States of America.

According to a statement issued by the United Nations Foundation in Washington, new members of the Council include Banda and new British Prime Minister, Theresa May.

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A statement released Friday by the former president’s office indicates that Banda has started fulfilling some of the roles reserved for members.

“As a new member of the of Women Leaders, [Banda] was at the UN [United Nations] Foundation Headquarters in Washington DC on Wednesday December 14 2016, where she met officials from US NGOs and activists working on issues of women and girls.

“During the meeting, former president Banda addressed various challenges and opportunities facing women leaders and women in general and called on the international community, the civil society and national governments to adopt affirmative action to empower women in various forms,” the statement reads.

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Among other things, Banda observed that “women leadership is under attack across the world”, calling for deliberate efforts to get women into elected leadership positions.

She is quoted as observing that women in leadership positions suffer misogyny and other forms of ridicule, which hold back other women from seeking elected office.

Banda has been recognised for roles she has played as Malawi’s first female vice-president and president, philanthropist, Member of Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Gender, Children’s Affairs and Community Services.

She also founded numerous organisations focused on promoting women’s interests in business, including the National Association of Business Women and Young Women Leaders Network.

In 2014, Forbes named her as the 40th most powerful woman in the world and the most powerful woman in Africa.

Currently, Banda is a Distinguished Fellow at the Wilson Centre and Centre for Global Development in Washington DC, where she is researching on Women’s Leadership and Girls Education, respectively.

The Council of Women World Leaders is a network of current and former women prime ministers and presidents. It was established in 1996 by Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, President of Iceland (1980- 1996) and first woman in the world to be democratically elected president, Mary Robinson, President of Ireland (1990-1997) and Laura Liswood.

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