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VP Harris Stresses Democracy During Africa Visit

On the eve of her meeting with Africa’s only female head of state, Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday that having more women in power is a key ingredient for a healthy democracy.

Her meeting comes as the White House hosts its second-ever Summit for Democracy in Washington.

Harris said that in a vibrant democracy, women winning positions of power should be a common occurrence, not a rare and newsworthy one, as her ascension was.

As she prepared to meet Thursday with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, she spoke Wednesday with female entrepreneurs and leaders in Ghana’s capital, and announced more than $1 billion in private-sector-led funding to advance women’s economic participation in Africa.

Afterward, in response to a question from VOA, Harris said women’s leadership is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and that it’s a topic she often raises in high-level meetings.

“In every bilateral conversation I have with almost any world leader, that is a topic that we raise because we do believe it is in the best interest of prosperity and security for the globe,” she said.

And, she says, it’s not about pushing women into power — in a healthy democracy, more citizens will feel empowered, and more women will gravitate toward higher office.

“When it comes specifically to this continent and the correlation between that and women’s empowerment, there’s no question when you have transparency in systems, when you have accountability in systems, when you create a system where rule of law is important, equal rights are defended and protected, you will see greater empowerment of all people including women — especially if they have been behind or you see extreme disparities,” she said. “So, there’s a correlation there, and we’re going to continue to work on it knowing that they’re interconnected.”

VOA News

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