On Thursday, October 25, IAfS Acting Director Ambassador Mulamula served as a keynote speaker for a lecture on Gender and Leadership in Africa at Howard University.
Throughout the lecture, Ambassador Mulamula emphasized that Africa has made great strides in terms of promoting gender equality through the implementation of various African Union and United Nations’ declarations and country policies of quota systems. This is further evidenced by the fact that Africa has had several women as presidents, and is the leading continent in terms of the number of women in parliaments.
Nonetheless, the continent still presents a mixed ideology due to its persistent patriarchal culture and attitudes. Unfortunately, the growing political participation of women has not yet translated into consistent and lasting influence regarding decision-making.
The question therein lies what still needs to be done in order to meet the aspirations of the 2063 Africa Agenda, otherwise known as “The Africa we Want”. This agenda envisions an Africa that is people-centered and gender-equal. Ideally, this gender-equal society would allow women to feel empowered and would enable them to play their rightful role in all spheres of life.
While there is no easy answer to this question, others argue that there is a strong need for increased advocacy, networking, mobilization of women and resources, and a promotion of feminism as a movement for women’s re-empowerment (the term ‘re-empowerment’ is used as there is a widespread opinion that African women are already empowered since they have traditionally played critical leadership roles in their families, communities and civil society).
In addition to Ambassador Mulamula, other panelists during the lecture included:
- Dr. Msia Clark- Assistant Professor of African Studies, Howard University (Panelist)
- Ms. Nenelwa Tomi, M.A. Student, International Education, GWU (Panelist)
- Dr. Josephine Dawuni, Assistant Professor Political Science Department and Coordinator of the Women and Gender Studies Collective, Howard University (Moderator)
The event was highly attended to full room capacity by Howard students and faculty members.