Bias against women remains one of the most prominent obstacles to achieving global gender parity. Whether expressed through social norms or discriminatory practices, gender bias is stifling women’s role as active members of society and key drivers of progress and prosperity in their countries.
A recent United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report has shed light on the rising levels of bias against women roles over the last decade, indicating further obstacles ahead on the road toward full parity. The report has also revealed how gender biases manifest themselves in the erosion of women’s rights and the long-standing underrepresentation of women in leadership positions.
Creating a pipeline of women leaders through mentorship and support mechanisms, and involving men as allies in the battle for equal representation can break the cycle of gender bias and accelerate the progress toward full parity.
This effort is particularly crucial in sub-Saharan Africa, where gender biases remain entrenched in the social, economic, and political spheres – threatening the hard-earned gains in gender equality. Ranking sixth out of the eight regions covered by the World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Gender Gap Report, it will take sub-Saharan Africa just over a century to close the gender gap.
When it comes to political empowerment, the report shows that very limited progress has been achieved, with only 1.1% increase on last year’s gender gap across the region.
Despite these challenges, African women are still able to overcome considerable biases to reach public leadership roles and put their countries on track to achieving gender parity. With a proportion of more than 60%, Rwanda is a world leader in women’s representation in parliament. African countries also feature among the top 20 countries globally in women’s representation in cabinet.
Building this momentum ensures that women and girls from all walks of life are inspired and encouraged to obtain what they deserve and to participate meaningfully in the social and economic lives of their countries.
By raising women to higher positions of power, the Amujae Initiative is moving the needle on women’s public leadership in Africa. Through extensive support programs and a unique networking structure, this initiative is helping African women in various fields to advance on the path of leadership – placing them at the forefront of driving Africa’s progress toward parity.
The EJS Center is proudly contributing towards creating a future for African women and girls free from bias and discrimination by helping them claim their rightful place in public leadership. Closing the gender gap and achieving inclusive transformation on the continent calls for all members of society – including men in positions of power – to establish a sustainable and strong pipeline of women leaders.