African Woman of the Year 2012, Justina Mutale has launched a global Foundation to inspire future female world leaders. The Foundation was launched in the House of Lords at the UK Houses of Parliament to commemorate the 2015 United Nations International Day of the Girl on Thursday 29 October 2015.
The Justina Mutale Foundation, which has been launched under the theme of “Unlocking the Power of the Girl”, aims to empower, inspire, educate and motivate women and girls to become leaders in areas where females are underrepresented such as business, politics, environment, academia, science and technology.
“It is my hope that should the next generation of women find the need to march for gender equality, that they would not be matching with their feet, but that they would be marching with their minds, a mind fully equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and information to claim their place and to participate on equal footing with their male counterparts”, said Justina Mutale
The Launch featured empowering personal stories from a multi-generational representation of women and girls including 107-year-old Irene Sinclair, a vintage Billboard Model, former History Teacher and Motivational Speaker who spoke about the importane of mentoring, while 17-year-old student, Channan Warmington Lewis-Moore talked about her success in journalism and business despite being a teenager living with HIV/AIDS. Boikanyo Trust Phenyo from Botswana spoke about lack of access to education and narrated her experience of having to walk 11 miles everyday to go to the nearest school from her village in Botswana. Other young speakers included, Phoebe Ruguru, Student Film Maker and Young Leader; Talula Amedu, a 10 year old school girl, who spoke about her hopes for the future as a girl.
The Launch of the Justina Mutale Foundation was graced by Lord Nazir Ahmed, Baron of Rotherham; His Worship Councillor Roy Arora, Lord Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames and Hon. Keith Best, former Member of Parliament & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Freedom from Torture (named in the Society Guardian as one of the 100 most influential people in public services in the UK). Panelist Speakers included President Elio D’Anna, Founder & President of the European School of Economics who delivered the Keynote Speech; Robin Marsh, Secretary-General of the Universal Peace Federation; Geraldine Kilbride, Business Psychologist at the London Business School & Director of Future Leaders Programme at the Resource Alliance; Dr Cassandra Martinez-King, Chief Executive, London Petroleum Law & Management School; Margaret Ali, Director at the Universal Peace Federation; and Sherry Ann Dixon; Founder of Women on the Crossroads, who is a Motivational Speaker and Life Coach.
The Justina Mutale Foundation has been launched to tackle gender inequality in the UK and around the world as part of Justina Mutale’s personal commitment to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on increasing women’s empowerment and achieving gender equality.
“As women of the 21st century it is important to empower ourselves so that women and girls can become effective and influential players in business, politics, society, and the environment, science, Technology and all other walks of life. To do this, women and girls need to be equipped with the necessary leadership skills that are required to dare the difference and to close the gender gap.
“We also need to seize the opportunities of a borderless world to create global networks of women movers and shakers that stretch from one end of the world to the other.”
The Justina Mutale Foundation will collaborate with international women’s networks including the International Women’s Think Tank headquartered in Atlanta Georgia, whose Founder & President, Brenda Morant is an Advisor to the Foundation. The International Women’s Think Tank (IWTT) is an “ideas organization” promoting research, critical thinking and innovative solutions on issues related to women and Girls. The International Women’s Center (IWC), which is the program and implementation support arm of IWTT, actively advocates for the personal and professional enrichment of women and girls of the global community through mentorship, intercultural exchange, entrepreneurship, business development, leadership training and the sharing of ideas.
The Launch of the Justina Mutale Foundation coincided with the UN’s International Day of the Girl to promote girls’ rights will focus on addressing challenges facing girls worldwide with a particular focus on developing countries to tackle issues like education; an estimated 31 million girls of primary school age were out of school in 2013.
The Launch of the Foundation, which attracted attendance from a cross section of NGOs from UK and Europe, was hosted by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.