Two years after the #MeToo movement heightened awareness of gender-based injustice, African Women on Board (AWB), a new campaign group, has argued that women in the continent are still being left behind.
Consequently, AWB will be teaming up with some of the most powerful leaders in business and government across Africa and the diaspora – both female and male – to advocate awareness in schools, companies and governments.
This was announced at a media briefing held by the group on Wednesday at Victoria Island, Lagos.
The campaign group, which began in 2017, is set to be launched on September 26, during the UN General Assembly week in New York.
The speakers include Jewel Howard-Taylor, Liberia’s vice-president; Oscar Onyema, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); and Aisha Oyebode, co-founder of the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign.
Nkiru Balonwu, chair of the AWB, said the campaign would see to it that opportunities available to women in accordance with economic, political, and social rights would take a broader scope.
“AWB was started in 2017 as a network of women working together to advance the economic, political and social rights of African women. We looked at solutions to getting women into Senior management, C-suite and board positions,” she said.
“We recognised from experience and data-backed findings that teams are strengthened and more solution-oriented when women are at the table and are given decision-making responsibilities.
“We wanted to expand these opportunities for African women. And when we say African, we mean all women of African heritage including those in the diaspora because we believe in the collective power of Black women around the world to lift Africa.
“Our focus at AWB is to advance narratives and improve realities for African women and girls because how we are perceived as African women affects how the world interacts with us. It affects our access to resources such as education, healthcare, and financing for businesses.
“Women around the world are having a “moment” in history where their stories and experiences are being brought to the global consciousness. Unfortunately, the unique perspectives and narratives of African women have been left out of this conversation almost entirely.
“Iit is time for African women to be included in these conversations and have a say in the development and growth of the continent. Through our key focus areas and initiatives, we are serving as a conduit for skill and knowledge acquisition for African women and girls”
On her part, Chioma Agomo, a trustee member of the AWB, said the new-found movement would witness the recruitment of allies from both sexes and all backgrounds in a bid to advance the narratives and better the realities of African women and girls.
“The game-changing principle with AWB is its emphasis on recruiting allies from all backgrounds, females and males, in their work to advance narratives and improve realities for African women and girls,” she said.
“The creation of opportunities for women directly correlates with heightened potentials for growth for everyone around them. Data consistently shows that investment put in the hands of women lifts up their surrounding communities
“The importance of engaging male allies in this larger effort for equality cannot be understated. The role that our lawmakers, largely male, play in challenging, creating or reproducing our current state of gender relations is critical in controlling the performance of our nation and the continent as a whole.”
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