Much has been written about the success of women leaders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries led by women have reported lower case numbers and fewer deaths, and their direct and open communication styles have been lauded.
In a recent article for Impakter, Oley Dibba-Wadda, a member of the inaugural cohort of Amujae Leaders and Founder, President, and CEO of the Gam Africa Institute for Leadership (GAIL), reflected on the findings of a recent report from the University of Reading and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, which showed that women-led countries have performed better throughout the pandemic.
Ms. Dibba-Wadda noted:
“The research findings do not just reveal the advantages of women’s leadership. They show the importance of strong public leadership and strong institutions for tackling the challenges of these remarkable times. It is also a strong argument for investing in the leadership skills of younger generations—particularly young women—in order to prepare for future crises.”
Ms. Dibba-Wadda commented on the power of mentorship to help women pursue leadership roles, noting the positive impact that the Amujae Initiative has had for herself and her fellow Amujae Leaders:
“We must engage young women from an early age about how to seek and secure positions of leadership, and we must support those already on their leadership journey to reach the top.”
Ms. Dibba-Wadda also highlighted how her organization, GAIL, is working to encourage young Africans to become more interested in leadership positions and build the skills needed to take them up. Programs have included efforts to encourage intergenerational dialogue and activities to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Giving participants hands-on experience allows them to learn how to manage different elements of leadership, and understand what it means to have a voice in the decision-making process:
“In governments and politics, there is often talk of the need to prioritize future generations. Yet we often do so while speaking on their behalf, without appreciating that young people have agency—that they know what they want. It is impossible to have dialogue about the future without the participation of those who will live it.”
Looking to the future, she noted that there is a need to provide young leaders—and particularly women—with the tools and skills they need to assume leadership roles. In the meantime, women leaders already in positions of power have a role to play in paving the way for the future, and allowing other women to rise up behind them:
“In the meantime, the women leaders of today must arrive and deliver in full force. We must pave the way in challenging the status quo in order to give younger generations space to dare to step out and step up.”
You can read the full article on Impakter here.