DealMakers AFRICA Q2 2022
In Africa, Women’s Day is commemorated annually on July 31st, although some countries on the continent celebrate at different times of the year.
It is a day to remember the contributions that African women have made in the liberation of Africa from colonialism, and to recognise the critical role that women have and continue to play in the development of the continent; while recognising that the status of women in Africa is varied across nations and regions. It is a day for celebrating social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women but, more importantly, it is a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute (The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in Africa), in the formal economy, Africa has made notable advances in getting more women into executive committees and board positions, with Africa having a higher female representation at the board level of any region. And while success stories for women at the top of the pyramid do exist, this is not so for the millions of ordinary African women. The continent lags behind other regions on progress toward gender equality in society – particularly in the following three elements: essential services and enablers of economic opportunity, legal protection and political voice, and physical security and autonomy.
Any drive toward gender parity in Africa starts with efforts to change entrenched and widespread attitudes about women’s role in society, itself an extremely difficult and complex challenge that requires all stakeholders to play a part.
The purpose of this feature is to offer inspiration not only to young women who may be considering entering this industry, but to all women, to give them courage where needed and the realisation that they are not alone, that there are others who have walked a similar path. These women have inspiring stories to tell; hard work, resolve and sheer determination are key, and so too is the need to believe in yourself and accept support and advice when offered. Apt are the words of author BK Sweeting, “Using your fire to ignite someone else’s will not dim your light... It will illuminate the room and you will shine, TOGETHER.”