Gender equity and the needs of women and girls must be prioritized in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Amujae Leaders Dr. Adaeze Oreh and Bogolo Kenewendo, who came together at an Africa Tech Festival accelerateHER Africa panel.
The discussion centered on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and girls, highlighting that during the pandemic, access to reproductive and perinatal health services were reduced dramatically, gender-based violence increased, and with schools closed, more women had to take on additional childcare duties. Ms. Kenewendo stressed that:
“With more and more kids spending time at home because of lockdowns… women were forced to stay at home and be the primary caretakers, and this really pushed them out of the labor force. And this is a point that we are so concerned with as we’re working on recovery policies with the G7 and G20: that we focus on how to bring women back into the labor force, and how to make sure that they continue to be active agents in their economies.”
Dr. Oreh agreed, suggesting that to uplift women and girls, there needs to be buy-in from critical stakeholders from government leadership to local communities:
“ to be able to build back better… including women and girls’ needs policy will redefine and remodel how social and economic structures work going forward.”
Both Amujae Leaders identified a clear digital divide when it comes to accessing support and healthcare for women. They noted that technology–such as SMS remote services–which could help women have easier access to counseling and safe houses needs further investment. Gender equity in this sector is vital to “create an ecosystem that provides safety for everyone,” said Ms. Kenewendo.
Closing the panel discussion, the two women spoke about their experiences as Amujae Leaders, and noted how the success of the Amujae Initiative demonstrates that “public leadership is a viable space for women and girls to aspire to.”
Watch the full panel session here. (Note: registration required)