In an opinion piece written for Devex, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf highlighted the powerful role played by women leaders in the fight against COVID-19. Addressing public health crises requires mobilizing community responses, and as Madam Sirleaf notes, women leaders often have the ability to do this effectively.
“Women leaders are better placed to draw on informal networks to mobilize rapid responses and community support. They are used to finding alternative resources and building ingenious partnerships to solve problems. And with greater numbers of women at the forefront of policy decisions, these skills are coming to the fore.”
Acknowledging that the challenges posed by COVID-19 are felt even more acutely on the African continent, Madam Sirleaf stressed the need to get creative in finding solutions to keep communities safe. And when it comes to taking the lead and developing plans to combat the severe effects of the pandemic across all African countries and sectors, the Amujae Leaders have been setting a strong example.
Whether placing an emphasis on raising awareness, expanding healthcare access, enabling long-distance education, or planning for economic recovery, each Amujae Leader has contributed to mitigating the impact of the pandemic. In her article, Madam Sirleaf recognizes some of these remarkable initiatives, reiterating how these challenging times have shown women’s abilities to lead through a crisis.
To conclude, Madam Sirleaf calls on all African heads of state and their development partners to step in and take the necessary actions to advance women’s leadership in Africa.
“The pace of change for women’s public leadership has not been quick enough — but there are actions that African governments and their international development partners can take now to accelerate progress.
I call on all heads of state across Africa to appoint more women to their cabinets and to the task forces established to tackle this pandemic. This would unlock manifold benefits for their countries and economies and send a signal that they are serious about doing what’s best for all.
And I call on our global development and philanthropic partners to double down on investments in women’s leadership. It will pay dividends today and well into the future.”
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