The Women, Power & Policy Making Series
he thematic focus for the Africa Portal over the course of 2019 has centred on 'Women, Power and Policy Making'. Inspired by UN Sustainable Development Goal No.5 and the AU’s Vision 2063 along with the support of the South African Institute of International Affairs, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Canadian High Commission in South Africa, this thematic series has comprised a policy briefs competition, engagement with leading African women in policy making, and a women in power event hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Part I: Policy Briefs Competition
In March 2019, the Africa Portal released a call for abstracts for policy briefs focused on women's issues in different fields of policy making. In the weeks that followed, over 100 applications from around the world were reviewed by our panel of experts. These papers were eventually narrowed down to the final eight briefs before the winning four authors were chosen.
In the winning paper,
David Olusegun Sotola examines the issue of under-representation of women on corporate boards and other leadership structures in Africa. He proposes five policy recommendations to remedy this phenomenon, including male advocacy.
Second runner up, Dr Udoka Ndidiamaka Owie analyses the role and representation of women in ECOWAS’ peace and security regulatory framework. She calls for broader engagement with stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of its objectives.
In joint third place, Esther Ekong examines the potential adverse effects of extending geographical indications (GI) to shea butter in Ghana – the production of which has traditionally been dominated by women. She argues for collective place branding as a better alternative.
In joint third place, Thabang Ramakhula explores how patriarchal systems, electoral processes, stereotyping and other barriers have perpetuated the marginalisation of women in the National Assembly of Lesotho. She proposes various policy options to address this.
The remaining papers were: 'Gender Equality in Combatting Climate Change: the African Context' by Dr Agnes Babugura; 'Assessing Gender Inclusion in the Migration Policies of ECOWAS' by Amanda Bisong; ' Fourth Industrial Revolution: What's in it for African women' by Manase Kudzai Chiwese; 'A Gender Lens on Informal Upgrading: Strengthening Women's Participation' by Rebecca Matsie.
Part II: Interviews with leading African women
With the policy briefs competition complete, the Africa Portal moved onto the second component of its 'Women, Power and Policy Making' series, reaching out to leading women from around the continent to learn about their policy fields and to hear their thoughts on gender equality and advice to young women.
In our first interview, Nadeen Shaker, the Associate Editor of the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, sat down with Shaden Khallaf, Senior Policy Advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for the Middle East and North Africa.
In our second interview, Lisa Anne-Julien, a freelance development writer passionate about gender equality, reached out to Chief Theresa Kachindamoto from Malawi who has banned child marriages in her region.
In our third interview, Kari Mugo, a creative writer in Kenya, reached out to Scheaffer Okore, an Africa-Politico Feminist who serves as Vice Chairperson of the Ukweli Party in Kenya and Advisory Board Member to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Goalkeepers Initiative.
In our fourth engagement, Sabrina Mahtani, a Zambian and British lawyer who serves as a Policy Advisor to The Elders, reflects on gender equality and the importance of access to justice for women in an essay written in a personal capacity.
Part III: Women in Policy Making Event
On 29 October 2019, the Africa Portal in conjunction with its sponsors hosted an event on Women, Power and Policy Making. On the day, we heard from the winning authors of our policy briefs series, leading women from the diplomatic sphere, academia and business and youth representatives on gender equality. To view the photo album, click here.