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US Embassy lauds Lesotho for empowering women 

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 Leemisa Thuseho 

THE US Embassy in Maseru says it values participation of women in decision-making processes and has lauded Lesotho for making strides towards empowering women. 

US Embassy Charge d’Affaires, Keisha Toms, said Lesotho’s commitment to women empowerment was reflected in the country’s resolve to allow women to claim their space in leadership. 

Ms Toms was speaking at the US Embassy’s commemoration of the annual Women’s History Month at the State Library in Maseru on Thursday. 

Ms Toms said the United States greatly valued women participation in decision-making processes.  It was therefore encouraging to see Lesotho recognizing the strength and value in placing women in positions of leadership. 

A case in point, Ms Toms noted, was that Lesotho’s Deputy Prime Minister, Nthomeng Majara, President of the Senate, ‘Mamonaheng Mokitimi, and Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Rets’elisitsoe Matlanyane, were all women. 

“All of you here live in a country where you can aspire to become Senate President like the Honorable Mamonaheng Mokitimi or Deputy Prime Minister like the Honorable Nthomeng Majara or even Finance Minister like the honorable Retselisitsoe Matlanyane,” Ms Toms said.  

The event, which attracted schoolgirls from different institutions of higher learning and women from various sectors, was celebrated under the theme: “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion”. 

It was aimed at honouring the achievements of Basotho women and girls, highlighting the challenges they faced, and emphasising collective efforts needed to address these challenges to motivate them. 

Ms Toms said Women’s History Month was a time dedicated to honouring achievements, contributions, and the struggles of women throughout history. 

“Women’s History Month is a time dedicated to honouring the achievements, contributions, and struggles of women throughout history,” Ms Toms said. 

The event, she added, was meant to pay tribute to the brave women who had fought for equality, justice, and opportunity, as well as women who had been at the forefront of every major economic, social, and political movement. 

Women who blazed different paths to make it easier for those who might follow in their footsteps, were also acknowledged.    

“We are reminded of the incredible strength, resilience, and potential of the women and girls all over the world but especially in the remarkable Mountain Kingdom,” she said. 

Meanwhile, local influential women panellists from various sectors were invited to motivate and speak on their roles, and how they worked on daily basis to make Lesotho a better place. 

They included, medical doctor at the Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital, Itumeleng Buti, Auditor-General ‘Mathabo Makenete; Lesotho’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Rethabile Mokaeane, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Budget Controller, Maleshoane Lekomola as well as other women in business. 

Ms Makenete spoke of the importance of women and girls’ empowerment in financial inclusion. She said there was need to level the playing field for financial access and literacy for women in pursuit of self-empowerment. 

“Financial services providers are all over the country and we have to use them and strive for financial literacy at a very early age,” Ms Makenete said. 

“Let’s empower ourselves. We can’t continue depending on the government. Life today revolves around technology. Use it constructively as financial literacy goes with using technology effectively.” 

For her part, Ms Mokaeane, touched on women’s reluctance to join politics. She said it was high time women and girls in their numbers, joined politics as  “platforms have been levelled to accommodate women in politics”. 

“Back in the day when I joined politics, there were a lot of barriers and stereotypes. But now we have a level platform……We have every tool that encourages young women to join politics, but we don’t get involved,” Ms Mokaeane said. 

“In Lesotho women form majority of the population but when we go to parliament, there’s only 15% of women representation. 

“I would encourage young women to join politics because it is the level where decisions are made. If you do not want to see yourself being left behind, you must participate in developmental issues. It not about education but effort, strength, eagerness and passion.” 

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