By Omolara Akintoye
The inadequate representation of women across sectors, particularly at leadership positions, continues to
draw the attention of stakeholders, who are intensifying the call for the inclusion of more women in all levels of decision making.
A group of African women leaders, the Nigerian chapter of the African Women Leaders Network
(AWLN) canvassed this agenda recently when the Chairperson, AWLN ,Prof. Oluwafunmi O. J. Para-Mallam, alongside other stakeholders appeared on the African Independent Television flagship programme, People, Power, and Politics to discuss women inclusion in leadership.
The programme, supported by the joint EU-UN Spotlight
Initiative, is part of an ambitious plan to create a continent-wide force of women leaders to contribute to Africa’s transformation in line with Africa Agenda 2063 and the Global Sustainable De�velopment Agenda 2030. Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations had supported the creation of an advocacy toolkit with
AWLN Nigeria to strengthen high-level engagement with gov�ernment and policy makers to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
“For Nigeria, we have a vision to create space for women. We want to see women leading positive change in Africa and
the country” Prof. Oluwafunmi said.
According to her, the mission of AWLN is to create space for
the transformative participation of women in decision making.
“We’re not just asking for women to get on the bandwagon
and continue the political space or the political culture as it is.
We’re looking at women across a diverse spectrum of the polity, from all walks of life. We are particularly concerned about intergen�erational mentoring, to ensure that the women coming up have a platform to express themselves to develop themselves and build
“It’s important that I stress that we’re essentially looking to influence and shape the narrative around gender, around gender issues, and around women in leadership.
On the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and the role of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in tackling the challenges of gender -based violence in local communities, Executive
Director, Women in Management, Business, and Public Service
(WIMBIZ) Ms Hansatu Adegbite,, said achieving women inclusion in leadership requires a
collaborative approach, that also includes fighting gender based vio�lence.
“The initiative has come together to collectively realize that it is important for all stakeholders, including the government, the private ector and every other stakeholder in our community to end violence
She said it’s equally important to support the initiative with ade�quate funding, if the goal must be actualised. She also called for the
passage of relevant legislation to support gender equality, and elec�toral reform that will ensure fairness and level playing for women to
get elected into positions.
AWLN was launched at the UN Headquarters in New York in June
2017, under the auspices of the African Union Commission (AUC) and
the United Nations (UN) through the Office of the AU Special Envoy
on Women, Peace and Security and UN Women.