Addis Ababa — The African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is on a working visit to Paris to attend the 50th anniversary of the Pan African Women's Organisation (PAWO).
The two-day celebration starts today, and wraps up on Thursday, at the UNESCO headquarters.
This is Dlamini Zuma's first official engagement to Europe since her assumption of office as the chairperson of the AUC in October.
The visit, which concludes on Thursday, signals the AUC's support to PAWO. It also reaffirms Dlamini Zuma's commitment to gender equality, "not only as a human rights issue, but also as a resource that we must develop by prioritising investment in the education and health of women and girl children", said Dlamini Zuma.
"Women should be given equal opportunities with men in all walks of life. It is important because when you improve the lives of women and you educate them, a lot of things change, not only for that woman, but for the family, for the community and for the country," said the AUC chairperson.
During this visit, Dlamini Zuma will meet with French President Francois Hollande and Francois Fabius, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs.
PAWO is a women's organisation that was founded in 1962 in Tanzania, a year before the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union.
Since 2008, it has been based in Pretoria. At its founding, PAWO was given an observer status in the African Union. The organisation receives material support and resources from the AU and in turn supports programmes undertaken by the AU.