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File picture of Liberia's First Lady Clar Weah (R), Liberia's Vice President, Jowel Howard Taylor (C) and Malawi's former President, Joyce Banda at a Sheroes Forum File picture of Liberia's First Lady, Clar Weah (R), Liberia's Vice President, Jowel Howard Taylor (C) and Malawi's former President, Joyce Banda at a Sheroes Forum  (ANSA)

Africa needs more female leaders

In many African countries, it is time for elections this year. Sadly, many of the continent’s social “social structures, such as those in politics, religion and culture, sometimes constitute real obstacles in the promotion of female leadership,” says Cote d’Ivoire SMA theologian

Africa Service – Vatican City

Speaking to the Catholic wire service, Agenzia Fides, Father Donald Zagore says Africa’s structures are strongly male-dominated. He believes that women on the African continent cannot continue to remain outside the critical leadership roles of their countries. Fr. Zagore laments that many capable women are reduced to carrying out secondary tasks in the political life of their countries.

There is need to promote women leaders in the Church

The Ivorian priest says that Africa needs a social, political, religious and cultural revolution that will urgently support women leaders.

Speaking about leadership in the African Church, Fr. Zagore has in the past said, “One thing that cannot be ignored, when we speak of the African Church, is that, if the Holy Spirit is the invisible force of the Church of Africa, women, without a doubt, are the tangible force. Women are more numerous, have more courage, are more dynamic, more active and sometimes more competent. Without women, our Churches in Africa would almost be empty, both as a presence and as a force,” said the West African theologian.

Many African countries have elections in 2020

According to the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa’s 2020 African election calendar, the following countries are scheduled to hold presidential, parliamentary or local elections: Togo, Chad, Comoros, Burundi, Cameroon, Egypt, Central African Republic, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Niger, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Sudan, Somalia, Somaliland and Seychelles. The elections present African countries with an opportunity to support female leaders.          

The UN says there is some improvement, but progress is slow. Very slow.

According to the 2019 United Nations’ Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Map of Women in Politics, Ethiopia saw the largest increase in women’s political representation in the executive branch, from 10% women ministers in 2017 to 47.6% in 2019.

The top African countries with a high percentage of women in ministerial positions are Rwanda (51.9%), South Africa (48.6%), Ethiopia (47.6%), Seychelles (45.5%), Uganda (36.7%) and Mali (34.4%). The lowest percentage in Africa was in Morocco (5.6%),. It had only one female minister in a cabinet of 18. Other countries with fewer than 10% of women ministers include Nigeria (8%), Mauritius (8.7%) and [Sudan before the revolution] (9.5%).

Djibouti, which in the year 2000 had zero women in parliament, saw the most dramatic gain.

18 January 2020, 16:10