Presented by Comrade Debora Soares da Gama of the All-African Women’s Revolutionary Union (A-AWRU)
Origin of PAWD
Pan-African Women’s Day was founded on 31 July 1962, Dar-es-Salaam (Tanganyika), following recommendations of the All African Women’s Conference (AAWC) – Conférence des femmes africaines (CFA). that took place in July 1961, in Conakry, People’s Revolutionary Republic of Guinea.
Prior to this conference, it was resolved to organize African Women’s Conferences each areas, (Liberation Movements and Independent African Countries) and meet in Dar-es-Salaam (Tanganyika) the following year in July 1962 to create a Pan-African Women’s Organization (PAWO).
It should be noted that the same process took place for youth and workers – i.e. – each area held national conferences to create national workers’ unions and national African youth organizations followed by African Continental Pan-Africanist Youth Organization and Pan-African Workers’ Union.
The Pan-African Women Organization (PAWO), the first continental women’s organization, was created on 31 July 1962 in Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika (later changed to the United Republic of Tanzania when Tanganyika united with Zanzibar). It was inaugurated one year before the Organization of the African Unity (OAU) by the Heads of State and Government of independent African countries, former leaders of African liberation movements of that period and great African women leaders within our continent.
The participants came from 14 Liberation Movements (including the African Party of Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC); the Democratic Party of Guinea of the African Democratic Revolution (PDG-RDA); the Convention People’s Party of Ghana (CPP); FLN-Algeria, etc…) and 10 Independent African Countries (including Guinea, Ghana, Mali, Egypt, Algeria, Tanzania, etc..).
The first Headquarters was in Bamako, Mali, from 1962 until the coup d’état against Modiba Keita and the US-RDA Government. It then transferred to Algiers, Algeria, followed by Luanda, Angola; Pretoria, South Africa and now Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The first Secretary-General of PAWO was our Immortal Sister & Comrade Jeanne Martin Cisse of Guinea. (Note that she remained until she was nominated to the UN Security Council to serve as the first woman in the world and later President of the UN Security Council).
At the PAWO Congress in 1970, it institutionalized the 31st of July as Pan-African Women’s Day. It also decide to include the position of President, with Comrade Assetou Koité elected President until the most recent Congress of 2019.
Currently, the President of PAWO is Comrade Sister Eunice Lipinge, who also serves as the Secretary-General of SWAPO Women.
Grace Kabayo of Uganda serves as the Secretary General of PAWO. Both were unanimously elected at the 10th Congress held in Namibia in 2019.
Aims and Objectives of PAWO
One of the most obvious aims of forming PAWO was to mobilize women in countries that were still colonized to fight for their liberation;
To continue the struggle for recognition and application of the right of African women to participate in decision-making in the field of political, economic, cultural and social life, both at national and international levels and particularly, to be able to express their opinion in laws regarding the welfare of women and children;
To follow-up the development and to contribute to the improvement of political and socio-cultural aspects, on women and children in member countries and disseminate the results of research undertaken in these fields by PAWO or by member countries through documents and existing media;
Support action taken at national and international levels aimed at ending serious human rights violation and violence against women;
Support all the actions of African governments;
Promote the effective unity among African states through friendship and cooperation for a genuine peace;
Establish continuous relations of friendship and cooperation between African women and women all over the world;
Support the internal cooperation and participate in all actions for disarmament and consolidation of peace in Africa and worldwide.