African Women’s Chartered Accountants Association awards AUC Chairperson with Woman of Substance Award

The African Women’s Chartered Accountants Association honoured Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, with the 2016 Woman of Substance Award. 
The Woman of Substance Award is given to an exceptional woman leader who has played a significant role in the uplifting of women, and has demonstrated quality and successful leadership in areas of governance and business to realise gender parity. 

The Award was handed over by Advocate Thuli Mandonsela, South Africa’s Public Protector, during a ceremony that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 2 August 2016.

In her acceptance speech Dr Dlamini Zuma highlighted the pivotal roles that African women and African women movements play in supporting women entrepreneurship, encouraging young women into further and higher education, including in male dominated professions such as Accounting, as well as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) areas; expanding women’s access to land, to agricultural extension services and advocating for women’s access to finance and financial services.

Referring to Africa’s development framework, Agenda 2063, as championing the rights of women the AU Commission Chairperson further stated that: “Agenda 2063 identifies the critical priorities for building an integrated, peaceful and prosperous continent, driven by its own citizens and playing a dynamic role in the world. These priorities include investing in people, in health, basic services, but above all in education, skills and technology, with specific focus on science, mathematics, engineering and research.”

The Woman of Substance Award is of particular significance as the African Union’s theme for 2016 is “African Year of Human Rights, with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women”. Under this theme the AUC is promoting human rights with particular focus on the rights of women and is stimulating dialogue between AU Member States, regional intergovernmental institutions, Civil Society Organisations and development partners on the opportunities, gaps and solutions for enhancing women’s economic empowerment and ensuring that women are at the centre of sustainable development, peace, regional integration and economic growth in Africa.

Dr Dlamini Zuma received the AWCA Woman of Substance award as South Africa celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March of 1956. In concluding her acceptance speech Dr Dlamini Zuma said she was dedicating the Award “to that heroic generation, to all the women, girls and young women, present and future generations,” she encouraged them “never to give up the struggle.”

According to the African Women’s Chartered Accountants Association (AWCA), organisers, the award is an annual flagship event, launched in 2005, where a carefully chosen woman is honoured and presented with the award, ‘AWCA Woman of Substance’. 

“We are excited to be acknowledging and celebrating milestones that women have achieved in the face of adversity. The 2016 recipient of the Woman of Substance Award is an undisputable trailblazer in the upliftment and empowerment of women across the African continent. Her career as a struggle activist and politician is testimony to her indestructible and courageous spirit,” said Lesego Sennelo, President of AWCA.