According to observers, in the next twenty years, Africa’s combined GDP will be among the fastest growing in the world. This is a unique opportunity for all nations across the continent to strive for transformational change.
However, as long as Africa excludes our women and girls from full participation in and leadership of our societies, the transformational change the continent desperately needs will remain elusive.
Advancing women in public leadership benefits everyone. There is a strong link between women in leadership and better health, education, environmental and healthcare outcomes. However, the unfettered participation and leadership of women in public life is still just an aspiration.
Dramatic progress on women’s political representation in Sub-Saharan Africa gives me hope. Five of the top 15 countries in the world on women’s representation in parliament are in Africa. Without doubt, Africa is trending in the right direction. However, true governing powers remain largely closed to women. Women lack access to the well-established networks and pathways that continue to support patriarchal systems within party and public management structures. We need to do much more.