AFRICA POWER WOMEN CONFERENCE (VIRTUAL)
OCT 29, 2020
12:00PM – 3:00PM CAT
THEME:African Women in leadership and the glass ceiling: Breaking through and Staying relevant
The Amazons Watch Magazine and Centre for Economic and Leadership Development (CELD) are pleased to invite you to the virtual gathering of Africa Power Women leaders across the continent and globe.
The under representation of women in public and private sector leadership positions not just in Africa but globally continues to be a major concern in gender discussions. This phenomenon, often described as the glass ceiling effect, has impacted on women’s advancement from middle level to very senior or topmost leadership roles in diverse sectors and settings, keeping the proportion of females at the highest leadership positions continually low. Although women seemingly have opportunities in organizations to move up the ladder to become top leaders, somehow those opportunities are short lived and vanish at various points along the way. Oftentimes, the few women who have broken through to the highest echelons of leadership, especially in politics or the big corporate boards fail to reach their zenith, serve full terms or build a sustainable legacy, mostly having their tenures cut short or not able to renew their full allowable terms.
And more than anything else, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the disproportionate impact of governance and policies on women and children. The pandemic, which has evolved into an unprecedented crisis is heavily affecting the livelihoods, the socio-economic stability, leadership and the security of many families and communities in Africa. The uncertainty, and preventive and containment measures against the pandemic have introduced profound disruptions that have had very adverse effects particularly to women on the continent, more than on their male counterparts. The pandemic is aggravating poverty, greater job losses, inequalities and gender-based violence (GBV), increasing the vulnerability of women in what was already a precarious situation.
Yet, it is acceptable wisdom that the world would fare better when gender equality is brought to bear in leadership opportunities for all. Her Excellency, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, former president of the Republic of Liberia highlighted that the inclusion of women in leadership positions have enabled the dismantling of the silo mentality that hinders sustainable development on the continent. She went further to say, “the resilience of women will take us forward today and we want to see women leadership become a new normal, not exceptional; while Africa’s economic performance is improving, gender leadership gaps must close quickly in order to achieve the structural transformation of the continent’’.
While women around the world have made some progress in the fight for gender equality over the years, with 2019 seeing the highest percentage growth of the proportion of women in senior management roles, rising to 29%; COVID-19 seems to have wiped off the gains. Though Africa has achieved representation of women in top leadership roles above the world average, boasting of the highest share of female representation on company boards by 25 percent, with the global average at 17 percent, according to a Mckinsey report, the continent’s women have not had any sustained stretch in leadership positions or top corporate leadership.
Addressing gender inequalities for economic efficiency and closing gaps in economic opportunities is not only essential for women’s empowerment, but for African economies as a whole, particularly for GDP growth, poverty reduction, and the “inter-generational benefit” defined as the positive impact on following generations of gains generated from breaking women’s poverty cycle.
Needless to say, Africa still represents the frontier with exciting opportunities for businesses seeking markets for growth and expansion in recovering from the economic impact of the pandemic. However, the continent may not reach its full potentials if systemic and urgent action is not taken to increase the awareness of upcoming women leaders and women in leadership positions, of their rights and potential in leadership as well as build their capacity to be resilient and influential leaders.
The Africa Power Women Conference & Awards (APWC) 2020, an initiative of The Amazons Watch Magazine in partnership with Centre for Economic and Leadership Development (CELD) will convene Africa Power Women leaders across the continent and the globe. The aim of this foremost Africa Power women event is to address intricate topics on sustainable female leadership and to inspire the next generation of female leaders to break through the glass ceiling and maintain significance, thereby enabling a culture of resilience and sustained relevance for African women, as they aspire for the highest leadership positions on the continent and across the globe.
Some of the themes to be explored during this 2-day conference include:
- Addressing Female Leadership stereotypes and gaps
- Sustained female Leadership and Diversity in the Boardroom
- The Gendered Impact of COVID-19
- Advancing and sustaining top female leadership in Governance & Political Environments
- Critical leadership skills and capabilities for female leaders
- The central role of female empowerment in development priorities – a shift towards a global consciousness recognizing the urgency of reducing gender inequality, both economically and politically.
- The life-long journey of ‘Self-development’.
- The dimensions of Self-concept: Self- Esteem, Self- Efficacy and Self-determination
The highlights of the conference include:
- Keynotes, Plenary and panel sessions
- Public Engagement session / Q&A from open participants
- The African Inspirational Female Leadership Awards
- Unveiling of Amazons Watch Magazine special edition listing of “Top 100 African Power Women 2020”: Recognizing influential and inspiring African women from all walks of life who are rising to today’s unprecedented challenges.
- Female Policymakers, Senior Government Officials and Diplomats
- Female Business Leaders, Entrepreneurs, small business owners
- Think-tanks and International Development Institutions
- Academics, Civil society activists, and multilateral leaders
- All African women, stakeholders and HeforShe champions