'Women do not start wars': Zuma tells the AU

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South Africas President Jacob Zuma arrives for the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia January 28, 2018.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says women are hard-working and make better leaders because they do not start wars.

He was speaking at a breakfast on equal access of African women to high-level positions at the African Union and in the United Nations system, held on the sidelines of the 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Zuma told the meeting that history showed that none of the world&39;s conflicts and wars had been started by a woman.

"They don&39;t start wars ... they don&39;t just love peace, they actually make peace ... they work hard to ensure there is peace generally," he said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Ghana President Nana Akufo Addo encouraged African leaders to allow for women&39;s advancement in leadership positions.

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"It is not as easy for women as it for men to occupy a position of responsibility in governments or companies or in international organisations ... there are different obstacles," Guterres said, adding that even in the selection process for positions in the UN there were "biases" tilted towards men.

The AU has a principle of equal access for women and men to high-level positions or that of ensuring that gender parity is ensured. Respect and implementation of the principle guarantees equal representation.

The respect of this principle motivated Guinea President and chairman of the African Union for 2017 Alpha Cond in the appointment of Addo as champion on gender and development in Africa.

"I have established as part of my outreach as AU gender champion the initiative of a gender and development initiative in Africa (GADIA), which has taken upon itself a specific emphasis on female empowerment in business ..." said Addo at the breakfast on Sunday.

Guinea under the leadership Cond, for the first time since its independence, welcomed the largest number women in government to high office, including the Ministry of Economy and Finance; several national directorates or autonomous services.

Since his assumption in his office, Guterres has been working to fulfil his campaign promise regarding the principle of equal access of women to essential functions in the management of the organisation and public representation, including management board and representatives, advisers and special envoys.

African women are particularly in the spotlight as demonstrated by the appointment of Dr Amina Mohamed of Nigeria as deputy secretary-general of the UN and others to the rank of assistant secretary-general.