On October 24th, BNP Paribas’s branch in Hong Kong invited our chairwoman to share her experience about the fight to protect and promote Women’s Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the African Great Lakes Region.
Mama Georgette spoke with her usual conviction and passion and explained to the 50 or so bank’s agents and executives how she had taken her fight to two different fronts, namely legal and economic.
The legal fight for women’s rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo
In 2005, she was one the major actor who managed to include two articles in favor of women’s rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s freshly approved new Constitution:
- Article 14 which recognizes the principle of Gender Parity in all areas and at all levels;
- Article 15 which condemns Sexual Violence made on any person as a crime against Humanity.
Mama Georgette also highlighted how this amazing victory was only possible with the support and solidarity of men, who at that time represented close to ninety percent of the Congress. One of these men is her husband Jean-Claude Biebie who was then an active congressman.
The economic fight for women’s rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo
In 2009, in an effort to combat the excessive poverty of women considered as the main economic agent in the country, Mama Georgette and her friends of the Congolese Women’s Caucus created two Credit Unions in the cities of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kikwit, her hometown. located 540 Km from Kinshasa.
Six months later, these women, that she likes to call diamonds in the rough carved by their constant work at the base of society, saw their life profoundly changed thanks to the subsidies and micro-credits granted by these two institutions. Moreover, they were able to contribute to socio-economic progress in their local communities.
Mama Georgette’s commitment to this cause earned her a UN Women Honorary Award in 2016 that she proudly accepted at the Béatrice Hotel in Kinshasa.
Her talk at BNP Paribas’s offices touched many people who went on asking several questions to better understand the origin of women’s rights issues in Africa and the scope of her fight. At the end of the talk, they insisted on shaking her hand to congratulate her and show their support for her idea to create the first Bank for women, by women, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of them felt very inspired by this ambitious project, and many decided to join the TEDx Wanchai event planned for the next day, yearning to hear more about Georgette’s contribution to improving women’s lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.