Point of View: Worldwide inspiration for African women

By Jessica Foumena

On Jan. 1, the Federative Republic of Brazil made history. Brazil’s first woman president, Dilma Rousseff, was officially sworn into office. Brazil, the largest country in South America, set the pace for a new political era for itself and this region of the world.

The election of Rousseff is a reminder that many developing countries in the 21st century will witness more drastic changes. One of them is the rise of engaged and well-educated women who wish to make the world a better place.

According to voanews.com, thousands of people witnessed the historical inauguration of 63-year-old Rousseff. She was a freedom fighter in the 1960s and had the support of her mentor and former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Rousseff intends to set a country record by appointing nine female ministers for her cabinet. She also intends to consolidate the work of her predecessor, to protect the most vulnerable in society and “to govern for all,” according to BBC.

Rousseff joins the elite and inspiring group of women political leaders like former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from Great Britain, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, America’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from Liberia.

Through their hard work and dedication, these women have set a golden path for women of the millennial generation.

The millennial generation is the demographic group born from 1980 onward and brought up using digital technology and mass media.

The path these woman have set should be heeded by many on the continent of Africa.

Women of the millennial generation from Africa — particularly Cameroon — ought to follow Rousseff’s footsteps. In fact, one of the potential Cameroonian leaders is doing just that.

Cameroonian presidential candidate Edith Kabbang Walla, popularly known as Kah Walla, resigned from the Social Democratic Party of Cameroon in October and has declared her intention to run on her own. Her stake for independence should be mimicked in other arenas of Cameroonian life.

The continent of Africa needs doctors, professors, librarians and journalists more than ever to catch up with the rest of the world. The determination of women around the world must be admired in Africa, too.

Millions of African young women around the world are currently getting their education. My hope is that they may see their roles and influence beyond the domestic sphere.

Jessica Foumena is a graduate student from Cameroon and a contributor for the Lariat.