I just watched Women Rising: Political Leadership in Africa, a documentary by FEMNET and UNDP and thought I’d share it with you all here (embedded below). To me, the need for more women in political leadership is possibly the most urgent task for the African feminist agenda. If women are not determining the future of Africa then the future will continue to disadvantage African women. Simple as.
You might be thinking, wait a minute, leadership is not only political, and women are moving forward in business, arts and other parts of public – and private – life. This is true yet we need more women in real, bonafide decision-making positions, roles that give women the power to change the very foundation of the nation.
It took a Kenyan woman politician (Njoki Ndungu), for instance, to ensure the enactment of a Sexual Offences Law and in Rwanda, a gender-based violence bill was introduced into the parliament only after women were elected to nearly 50% of seats in 2006.
It follows that it is women ourselves who must take primary responsibility for ushering more women into positions of power and we must do so determinedly. The truth is African women have not taken enough measurements to secure seats in leadership positions today and are either absent or under-represented as a result. Nor have we sufficiently adapted the roles of Women Chiefs, Queen Mothers and other eminent women of ancient times in order to challenge structures and social attitudes that exclude women from leadership positions.
Sojourner Truth aptly said, “If women want more rights than they got, why don’t they take it and stop talking about taking it.”
The Women Rising documentary features women who indeed are taking it, if controversially at times.
It features President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, Boussaina Kamel, the very first female presidential aspirant of Egypt, Honorable Rebecca Kadaga, first female Speaker of the House in Uganda’s Parliament, Honorable Rabiaa Nejlaoui, youngest Member of Parliament in Tunisia, and Honorable Hlobisile Ndlovu, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture of Swaziland.
They share their their experiences and challenges running for office, their ambitions, their role models and their vision for a future of Africa with equal representation. I wish every young African girl can watch this and know that she too can become a future political leader.
What do you think readers?
Enjoy and share thoughts!