The Women, Power & Policy Making Series

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The Women, Power & Policy Making Series

08 Aug 2019

3min min read
  • Equality
  • Women's rights

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.

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 interviewNadeen 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 interviewLisa 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 interviewKari 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 engagementSabrina 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. 


In our final engagementLynsey Chutel, a freelance reporter and producer, sat down with Thoko Mpumlwana, Director at Gender Links and long-term activist in South Africa.

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


Collage of photos from Women, Power and Policy Making event