mercredi 22 août 2012

Ten points on the leadership of African women *

In ruling accomplished, Betty Mould Iddrisu book 10 lessons the main women's leadership in Africa and the challenges facing women to reach the top and stay there.
There is a harsh reality attached to women's leadership in Africa. I dreamed and I lived. Gradually, women have ignored the historical barriers that were in place until recently, barriers that limited their ascent to the highest peaks of power and leadership in important sectors of society.
To have the audacity to aspire to heights that few women have achieved can be satisfying, but also be indicative of mixed experiences, unique perspectives and occasionally inexplicable disappointment.

1° Not enough Summit at national and regional level.

Even with the best success of all time, with two women presidents, a prime minister women and women who hold 19.7% of seats in parliament across the continent, everyone will agree that the number of women in the upper echelons of politics - symptomatic female representation in other sectors of society - is distressing in terms of fairness and democratic principles of participation. There is no doubt that there have been significant moments of success that should be proud of.
Rwanda, South Africa and Mozambique are among the countries with the highest percentage of women in parliament. However, there is still a long way to go. I climbed over the course of my progress in the leadership and hard reality has emerged.
We must always acknowledge the valuable contribution of the middle and lower levels, but we must be at the high table to participate, contribute and share the power that shapes our destinies national and regional.
Maybe we are making significant progress, but I know with certainty that the status quo is neither fair nor acceptable.

2° A steep and greater difficulties to stay on top.

African women suffer from systemic biases in their journey to the top. First, we do not take us seriously because men believe that women are inherently less competent.
Cases of sexual harassment in education and the workplace, which inhibit the advancement of women to the top, are well documented. Moreover, the duties of motherhood can be overwhelming if not carefully managed.
Most men believe that women must take the main responsibility for the family. It follows that working late, attending seminars on weekends, business trips overseas, which both contribute to every worker on the way to the top, are often very difficult for young wives and mothers who work.
Reach the upper third is rare and when you succeed you have to face hostility and doubts about your skills because you're a woman.
A woman working at the top worst a man to prove his skills and yet it continues to be faced prejudice and hostility rooted for his role as patron and leader in a work environment dominated by men.

3° Without support you can not succeed.

Policy, the companies or the party is cruel and unforgiving usually nothing. This is nowhere more evident than for women in Africa. Since it is estimated that a woman's role is to support her husband and family, blows and insults policy, which generally characterize public leadership are not acceptable to the family of a politician and the Women are seen as bringing "shame and dishonor" to their families.
Women leaders and politicians need the support of their sisters, mother, grandmother, aunts, schoolmates and can not progress without the active support and expressed.
It is generally considered that women do not support each other and the experience of many women confirm this harsh reality. This requires a lot of inner strength and a rhinoceros skin.

4° Too many obstacles to overcome in spite of progress in several key areas.

Despite remarkable progress, despite the many advances and a growing awareness and acceptance of women's leadership in Africa, there are too many obstacles to women's leadership and ascension.
Traditional African society is still locked in a myriad of barriers designed to keep women in a subordinate status in society. Customary practices, hostile and cruel against women, access restricted to studies that prevents a girl to go and stay in school, endemic poverty that affects rural women farmers are obstacles that help to keep away from active leadership on the continent.
Most legal obstacles preventing their progress has been overcome or abolished on the continent, particularly in the past thirty years.
The challenge is to get rid of another age perceptions of the role of women in society and this can only happen with time and a positive attitude. We are moving forward, but I know for sure there are still many obstacles to overcome.

5° Traditions should not hold us back. They can serve as catalysts.

         Traditions are not supposed to be stagnant. They can be used as instruments of change. This change is usually induced by the women themselves. Some aspects of African tradition trying to keep women silent, subordinated second-class citizens, while many others welcomed the dignity and sanctity of womanhood.
Although I am aware of the many deleterious aspects of our traditions, I've always seen and used the cultural dimension which allows to tradition and as a catalyst for positive change: to allow, to legitimize and promote women in African leadership.
Culture can be used to hold us back, but we can also form the cultures so that they are liberating. However, much of the African traditions, which may have their roots in history and glorious cultures were recovered by men to ambush women, to prevent them from realizing their full leadership potential.
But I also know that we can find the strength and opportunities in the values ​​and dynamism in many of our cultures.

6° Education, although desirable, is not everything.

Higher education is desirable, but is not a pre-condition for successful female leadership on the continent. Education provides automatic recognition in society because it allows women to have a certain cachet.
However, although I can not emphasize enough the importance it has for every woman leader, I also know that formal education is not sufficient in itself to provide all the necessary tools for survival and success in the upper echelons of leadership. Especially the lack of education does not disqualify a woman and does not prevent excel.

7° Nothing replaces hard work, courage and determination inside.

Given the inherent skepticism about the ability of women to succeed in Africa, it simply means that women leaders must work twice as hard.
The road to success is fraught with challenges that require a tremendous amount of courage and determination not to deviate. I know with certainty, with or without special challenge, hard work is imperative inevitable for successful leadership.
In view of the specific challenges of prejudice and skepticism against women leaders, the African woman leader has no choice except to work hard and with determination.
Whatever his qualifications or his charm, his motivation or his spirituality, a female leader in Africa must work harder than their male colleagues, if she wants to count a little bit.

8° Crucial network.

Complaints abound throughout Africa that women leaders do not contribute to improving the status of women in society.
But only a woman who has been at the top and did his best to make a difference can truly understand the difficulties of being the only one of its kind at the top.
Women leaders need and must develop their networks and alliances based and civil society in order to meet the needs of women at the grassroots and leadership. She is so lonely at the top of the scale, but I know that networks larger and more solid the base, professional and civil society allies provide a powerful force which surely rely on.

9° Regardless of your skills, experience and power, there are challenges that you confirm.

You're always seen as a "woman leader" and not just a "leader". You are an African, a citizen and a leader, your "femininity" is predefined measurement company about your leadership.
Therefore, the challenge of being a woman leader is multiplied because you are an African woman. But the harsh realities of women's leadership in Africa are numerous: the under-representation of women in politics and among the leaders at all levels, negative traditional and cultural practices and cruel, the subordinate status of women, lack of education and degree of poverty are challenges to overcome to reach the leadership.

10 ° Yes! African women can!

If there is one thing I've learned and what I believe without a doubt, is the ability of women to lead in any area and at all levels. We continue to excel in the same way as men. We can continue to stumble along the way as well as men. We can even fail from time to time, just as men have failed in history. But I know with certainty that we are able, we have the right and we can certainly lead the continent. Yes we can!

* Article Mrs Betty Iddrisu Mouloud-published PAMBAZUKA No. 250 of 23 July 2012.

* Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu is one of Africa's most accomplished leaders. She studied law at the University of Ghana, Legon / 1973-1978) and at Schooé of Economics London, Great Britain (1978). She was Attorney General, Minister of Justice and Minister of Education in the Republic of Ghana. She was also Director of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Commonwealth Secretariat and lecturer of law. She was at the forefront of the struggle for gender equality for 30 years. She is very motivated for a new generation of African women in leadership says and professional. Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu is currently a lecturer, consultant and activist on issues of law, policy and gender justice, very popular at international level (- 
). She is married to the banker Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, member of the Council of State of Ghana.

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