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Women’s stake in leadership and decision making towards attaining gender parity in Africa

8th March marks the International Women’s Day; a significant milestone in celebrating the successes chalked by vibrant women across the globe sequel to the Beijin Conference in 1995. Giant strides have been made after  the Beijin Conference as women stakeholders across the world have championed women empowerment and gender parity at all levels of endeavour. […]

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Maranatha 18th March marks the International Women’s Day; a significant milestone in celebrating the successes chalked by vibrant women across the globe sequel to the Beijin Conference in 1995. Giant strides have been made after  the Beijin Conference as women stakeholders across the world have championed women empowerment and gender parity at all levels of endeavour.

We at ExLA Group Gender Programme (EGGP) celebrate the enormous efforts and achievement of various stakeholders in the lead to attain gender equality by 2030 as spearheaded by UN Women, its affiliates agencies and other women led groups and initiatives of which the EGGP is no exception.

As the world at large remarked the day, we would like to take stalk of the journey so far with regards to women empowerment especially on the African continent. In the wake of the UN Women’s clarion call for “Planet 50:50”- Gender equity for all, we ask: WHAT HAS BEEN THE STAKE OF WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP AND DECISION MAKING ??. We want to remind ourselves of the huge task that lies ahead of us as a continent as we strive to attain the global target of equitable representation of men and women in equal proportion at all levels of human endeavour by year 2030.

We want to emphasise that, the call for gender equity and equitable representation is more eminent now than ever. The World Bank Population Data sheet (2015) records that, women make up about 49.76% of the world’s population. In the case of Africa, most countries have women outweighing men in numbers with an avearage of about 51%. It is sad to know that, this does not translate into a fair and appreciative levels in terms of women representation especially at the top hierarchy of leadership and engaged in critical decision making.

In the case of Ghana and several other African countries, women make up to 51.3% of our population but its appalling to note that representation  of women in the Legislature is only about 11%, this reflects in women representation and roles in critical decision making at the executive level. It should also be noted that women form only 3% in decision making which makes global target for a Planet 50:50 far from reach.

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Notwithstanding, we appreciate and recommend for emulation by some African countries, the pace set by countries like Senegal, Rwanda, Liberia and Tanzania who are making conscious efforts to engage women in leadership, key decision and policy making platforms. For instance, Senegal’s “Gender Parity Law, 2010” which mandates all political parties to present 50% women for election in the legislative arm of government has contributed in achieving 50% representation of women in parliament. We recommend that such pragmatic steps should be replicated in other African countries to demonstrate our commitment to Planet 50:50 agenda by 2030.

We want to further reiterate that, in our bid to increase the tally of women representation at various levels of human engagement, we must be cautious not to put ‘square pegs in round holes’ as we at EGGP always advocate for most qualified and competent women to occupy top hierarchy positions. We do not dignify mediocrity and sycophancy depicted by some few women who have failed miserably when occupying very influential positions as records will have it.

We can attest to the fact that, qualified women when given serious leadership roles, deliver effectively and it is about time women are given such opportunities to contribute their quota to the development of the country and the continent as a whole.

We want to remind all stakeholders that, further deliberations on this issue will be addressed at the ExLA Group Gender Programme’s  upcoming Young African Women Congress (YAWC) scheduled for 4th – 8th July, 2016 in Accra, Ghana.

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