The Third Annual Raising Girls' Ambition (RAGA 2017) Annual Internation Inter-multidisciplinary Conference
ADVANCING WOMENS’ LEADERSHIP FOR SUISTAINABLE DEVLOPMENT IN AFRICA AND BEYOND
Women account for about 50% of the world’s total population. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the women population is illiterate. In addition, the world percentage of women in parliament is currently 16.6%. In Africa, a greater percentage of the total African population consists of women and female children. From all indications, women form a dominant part of the global society yet their involvement in societal and global affairs is quite limited as compared to the participation of their male counterparts. In order for a more progressive development of the world, it is necessary that more women are educated and supported in their career pursuits and particularly in leadership situations.
Women have played important roles in community since the beginning of time. The innate tendency that women have for nurturing and taking care of their own render them loyal citizens of their various communities. As a result, women readily contribute towards the development of their communities, and in some instances are willing to go the extra mile in order to sustain the societies they belong to. From the various Queens of Ethiopia to the traditional Queen Mothers like Yaa Asantewa of Ghana, to political leaders like former Senegalese Prime Minister, Mame Madior Boye women leaders in Africa have gone to great lengths to defend the rights of their people and to facilitate development.
“One of the most fascinating developments in African politics has been the increase in women’s political participation since the mid-1990s,” writes Aili Mari Tripp, a professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US. Besides the four female heads of state, Ms. Tripp bases her upbeat assessment on the increasing number of women parliamentarians on the continent.
Indeed, with 64% of seats held by women, Rwanda has the highest number of women parliamentarians in the world. Senegal, Seychelles and South Africa have more than 40% each, and Mozambique, Angola, Tanzania and Uganda are not far off, with women occupying over 35% of all parliamentary seats. Considering that women hold only 19% of the seats in the US congress and 20% in the senate, Ms. Tripp maintains that Africa has every right to be proud. What she did not say is that American women hold top positions in ministries, military and other top government departments, which is not the case in most African countries.
However, a survey on women’s participation in politics in 34 African countries by Afrobarometer, a research group that measures public perceptions of socioeconomic and political issues in Africa, notes that while countries such as Rwanda and South Africa may have numerically significant women’s parliamentary representation, some of the world’s worst performers are also on the continent. For example, women have only 6.2% representation in Swaziland, 6.7% in Nigeria and 8.4% in Benin.
For at least a quarter of a century, women have been experiencing changing social status, though not as a homogenous group, entering the professional and managerial ranks of U.S. corporations at about the same rate as men, yet they remain dramatically underrepresented at senior levels. Women currently constitute only 2.2% of Fortune-500 Chief Executive Officers and about 15% of these companies’ board seats and corporate officer positions.
Challenges women face discharging her quota to her household, community and self is multi faceted, the typical woman in the rural setting walks for hours to fetch water and toils in drought-prone fields to feed her family… In the city, she left her country with the promise of a good job only to find herself forced into sex work… She picks up the pieces after a cyclone destroys her makeshift home and small business…
She is the provider, farmer, teacher, doctor, entrepreneur, minister, leader, mother — contributing every day to her household, society and the economy. Women and girls make up more than half the world’s population — and they are on the frontlines — often more deeply impacted than men and boys by poverty, climate change, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and global economic crises. Their contributions and leadership are central to finding a solution to the challenges our worl ld facing today, without the ability to express her voice, this cannot be made possible.
Over the past several decades, businesses, corporations, professions, and indeed politics have become more inclusive of women, dismantling many of the traditional barriers to women’s advancement. Although progress has been significant and is reflected in the number of women managers at the world’s largest companies and professional firms, it has been slow at the very top. According to Catalyst the number of women on Fortune 500 Boards and in corporate officer positions for more than ten years. Corporate officers are the highest-level executives in an organization, often board-appointed or board-approved. The resulting censuses show that women have steadily gained access to this elite level of corporate leadership, but that in the last two years progress has stalled. It is therefore important to break down the barriers to top leadership positions, not only in the corporations, but in education, medicine, science, technology, engineering and all facets of human endeavour. This is because there aare more benefits for the world.
With the new global 2030 roadmap and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by UN Member States on 25 September 2015, taking a look at how women are affected by each of the 17 proposed SDGs, as well as how women and girls can — and will — be key to achieving each of these goals. Women are a major stakeholder in the development project of any society. Therefore, globally, the issues of women marginalisation and low participation in political leadership and decision making have been attracting a lot of attention from scholars. Although women and men have different biological and physiological make-up, they may share common features with men in terms of educational qualifications, socio-economic status and occupation among others. Yet, they are marginalised in virtually all spheres of public life. In many African countries, such as Nigeria, retrogressive social norms, political exclusion and economic lopsidedness dictate the presence and voice of women in public life. According to 2006 Nigerian population census figure, women constituted 49% of the total population, but there has been a gross gender gap between men and women, especially in political representation, economic management and leadership.
· In Africa, only 22.8 per cent of all national parliamentarians were women as of June 2016, a slow increase from 11.3 per cent in 1995. As of January 2017, 10 women are serving as Head of State and 9 are serving as Head of Government. Rwanda had the highest number of women Parliamentarians worldwide. Women there have won 63.8 per cent of seats in the lower house. .
· Globally, there are 38 States in which women account for less than 10 per cent of parliamentarians in single or lower houses, as of June 2016, including 4 chambers with no women at all.
· Wide variations remain in the average percentages of women parliamentarians in each region. As of June 2016, these were (single, lower and upper houses): Nordic countries, 41.1 per cent; Americas, 27.7 per cent; Europe excluding Nordic countries, 24.3 per cent; sub-Saharan Africa, 23.1 per cent; Asia, 19.2 per cent; Arab States, 18.4 per cent; and the Pacific, 13.5 per cent.. In other domains of governance, As of January 2015, only 17 per cent of government ministers were women, with the majority overseeing social sectors, such as education and the family.
The global proportion of women elected to local government is currently unknown, constituting a major knowledge gap . It is believed that women’s representation in local governments can make a difference. Research on panchayats (local councils) in India discovered that the number of drinking water projects in areas with women-led councils was 62 per cent higher than in those with men-led councils. In Norway, a direct causal relationship between the presence of women in municipal councils and childcare coverage was found.
· Gender balance in political participation and decision-making is the internationally agreed target set in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
There is established and growing evidence that women's leadership in political decision-making processes improves them. Women demonstrate political leadership by working across party lines through parliamentary women's caucuses - even in the most politically combative environments - and by championing issues of gender equality, such as the elimination of gender-based violence, parental leave and childcare, pensions, gender-equality laws and electoral reform. .
Call for Papers
The Global Youth Leadership and Girl-child Foundation and Lead City University is proud to announce the 3rd annual (Raising Girls’ Ambition (RAGA 2017) conference scheduled from October 11-13, 2017 in beautiful, serene Ibadan, City, in the heart of Oyo State, Nigeria. . The conference theme is Advancing Womens’ Leadership for sustainable Development in Africa and beyond: We are seeking scholarly evidence based papers, workshops, panels, poster displays, and interactive roundtable topics that represent the best contemporary thinking about women and leadership from a multidisciplinary dimension from leadership scholars, practitioners, educators, program directors, consultants, students, and other leaders and leadership professionals. All proposals must be submitted using the online system which will be available from June April 20 to August 25, 2017.
- Advancing Women in Leadership for Sustainable Development
- Advancing Women in Leadership in Sports
- Advancing Women in Leadership in Education and Higher Education
- Advancing Women in Leadership in Politics
- Advancing Women in Leadership in Science
- Advancing Women in Leadership in Technology
- Advancing Women in Leadership in Engineering
- Advancing Women in Leadership in Mathematics
- Advancing Women in Leadership in Medicine
- Advancing Women in Leadership in the Industry
- Advancing Women in Leadership in the Grassroots
- Helping girls and young women to become Leaders
Bukola Bamkefa, Ph.D
Conference Local Organising Committee Co-Chair
Lead City University, Ibadan
Tunde Oseni, Ph.D
Conference Local Organising Committee Co-Chair
Lead City University, Ibadan
Oyo State, Nigeria