Africa is a diverse, youthful, and dynamic continent. Its people have been the custodians of rich cultural and natural heritages and have overcome challenges throughout the ages.
This Africa Day, we celebrate all those who continue to make the continent proud of its past and hopeful as it looks toward the future. Among them are Africa’s women leaders. Battling for equality and setting the standard for inclusion in all spheres of life, they have played a central role in promoting and enhancing Africa’s place in the world, and preserving its unique character and identity.
In our recently published annual ‘Shifting the Landscape’ report, we highlight the women leaders who have made their mark in public leadership throughout the past year and pushed the boundaries despite overwhelming challenges to drive progress toward justice and equity.
The report gives voice to the remarkable African women leaders who are at the forefront of public governance and who have recently achieved exceptional feats in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.
From cabinet ministers and chief justices to members of parliament and county representatives, the women leaders offer first-hand accounts of their successes and challenges, as well as advice on how women should approach a high-level career in public governance. They also reflect on the legacy they would like to leave and recall the women leaders who have inspired them to walk in their footsteps.
These achievements haven’t been without challenges and setbacks, but, as former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf writes in her foreword, progress in Africa can be achieved as long as “anyone can dream of becoming a decision-maker in their country.”
“Africa’s development depends on ensuring that none of its citizens are left behind… I am a believer in the power of stories. This is why this year’s edition brings in the voices of real-life women who have surmounted different challenges to themselves becoming the ‘first’ in whose footsteps others will follow.”
Delving deep into the instances of progress in women’s public leadership in 2022, the report highlights the African countries with the highest representation of women in the legislature, such as Rwanda and South Africa, as well as those that have fallen behind.
The report also offers unique highlights of recent presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as a special feature on the women leaders who have made history in their countries by becoming the first women Ministers of Economy, Finance, or Planning.
Charting the progress of women to high-level judicial positions, the report spotlights the African women who have created unprecedented shifts in the leadership of national, regional, and international courts and organizations. This includes Miatta Maria Samba of Sierra Leone, Reine Alapini-Gansou of Benin, and Solomy Bossa of Uganda who are among the four African judges at the International Criminal Court.
Shifting the landscape in Africa rests on the shoulders of all those who believe in equity, justice, and inclusion and work hard to eliminate the barriers that prevent the advancement of women. Africa Day is an opportunity to pause and reflect on what makes our continent unique, and to endeavor to support its continuous progress and prosperity.
Discover the full report here.