“An equal world is an enabled world.”
This bold statement forms part of 2020’s International Women’s Day theme. Now more than ever, with COVID-19 running rampant, nations across the globe require an enabled world.
According to the John Hopkins University, Africa has reported more than 30,000 positive cases (all 54 countries now bearing confirmed cases) and more than 1,400 deaths.
During a crisis such as this one, argues Shannon Henning, Director of Status Reputation Management Consultancy, Africa needs immediate measures and clear direction to keep those uninfected safe. Provide life-saving medical assistance to those have been contaminated by the coronavirus, and ensure the economy of these countries do not crumble under the duress of national shutdowns.
Henning says, while International Women’s Day may be behind us, the symbolism of the day continues to singe a message of inclusion onto our daily lives. Notwithstanding the novelty of COVID-19, Africa would be in a better space to deal with the coronavirus if more women were entrusted with roles of leadership, particularly in government and policymaking duties.
“There is always room for improvement,” says Henning. “What makes this improvement even more possible is the fact that there are already so many examples of extraordinary women across Africa making an indelible difference.”
According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) research, parliamentary institutions – including parliamentary committees and women’s caucuses – play an important role in helping female politicians in Africa to shape development outcomes, with the health sector positively being impacted where women were better represented.
WEF further cites the works of political scientists, such as “quota shocks” – large increases in women’s parliamentary representation after the introduction of a gender quota – tend to be followed by rises in government spending on public health.
“Representation matters, especially in senior management, entrepreneurial spaces, social development and governance levels. Seeing more women in decision-making environments not only emboldens other women on what is possible, but it also becomes a harbinger for the younger generation. More studies continue to verify the positive ratio of having more women in roles of leadership, paving the way for normalising diversity and inclusivity,” concludes Henning. (