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Women must use their power to effect change - Kofi Annan charges

Kofi Annan was speaking at the Center for Democratic Development’s (CDD) 12th ‘Kronti ne Akwamu’ Lecture on Thursday

Kofi Annan
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Speaking at the Center for Democratic Development’s (CDD) 12th ‘Kronti ne Akwamu’ Lecture on Thursday, he said women have to play a leadership role not only in politics but in the society as a whole.

Women constitute over 50 percent of the world’s population, however, they continue to be under-represented as voters, political leaders and elected officials.

Kofi Annan believes such a situation could change if women took the initiative to vote their own representatives in power.

“I really don’t understand women. In almost every society, you are the majority. In average we have about 50 per cent women. But when it comes to elections, they don’t use their power, they vote for men and sometimes consider women candidates too ambitious.

"And then sit back and say how did these men get in. The day women realise that they have the numbers and they have the power, and most organisations they don’t need quotas to go to parliament, they don’t need quotas to sit on corporate boards...we will see a very changed world. I think part of the answer is in your hands,” Kofi Annan said.

Meanwhile, the former UN Secretary General has called for a more proportional representation of the various political parties in governance as a solution to the ‘winner takes all’ and ‘first pass the post’ system.

“The winning party need not take it all. They need not lock out the other side and because of that attitude, it becomes a fight to death that once you lose, you are out in the cold. We should be able to share power, we should be able to have system where members of the other parties will sit on important committees with the influence.” Mr. Annan said.

He further called for the responsible use of the social media platform ahead of the November polls, saying it must be seen as a tool to achieve a common purpose.

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