I have chosen this unique day to write this article as we celebrate the birthday of the 1st democratically elected female president Her Excellency Helen Johnson Sirleaf, the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 – January 2018. and the emergence of an African Female President Her Excellency Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia.
On the 20th of January this year, I published an article titled “Africans Should Prepare for Leadership Positions”. The article was geared toward calling women of African descent to get themselves ready to occupying leadership positions. On June 17, 2018 a follow up article was published called Ready and Prepared for leadership showcasing an African woman ready for leadership.
This publication stirred a lot of constructive discussion on leadership and the place of women in leadership positions and how African women should positions themselves ready to take leadership roles.
One of the comments I received from a renowned advocate for women leadership who also is the current President of African Women in leadership Organisation Dr Violet Arene said in her words:
“Women, get ready!
You must be invoked. You have a lot to offer to the human community
In your leadership position. “
It is no surprise to see a READY AND PREPARED woman now elected to Leadership Position. This is evident in Amina J. Mohammed, the current United Nation Deputy Secretary-General a woman of worth making the continent proud, Vice President of Liberia Jewel Howard Taylor, a highly esteem and respected leader. Now the continent of Africa is witnessing a revolution in active participation of women in leadership position as seen in the newly elected President of Ethiopia in person of President Sahle-Work Zewde.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia’s Parliament on Thursday approved the East African country’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, a veteran of the United Nations and the diplomatic corps. Its is worth noting that in this Africa’s second-most populous country Ethiopia, half the ministers in the government are women also a woman now heads one of the most powerful ministries in the country, the Ministry of Peace, which controls the intelligence agency and security forces, Muferiat Kamil.
“In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life,” Fitsum Arega
In remarks in Parliament after she took her oath of office, Sahle-Work emphasized the importance of respecting women and the need to build a “society that rejects the oppression of women.” She also promised to work for peace and unity in the country.
She added that those who think she has already talked too much about women should expect even more.
Sahle-Work was previously the special representative of the U.N. secretary general to the African Union. Before that, she headed the United Nations’ Nairobi office with the rank of undersecretary general.
Women have played important roles in the community since the beginning of time. The innate tendency that women have for nurturing and taking care of their own renders them loyal citizens of their various communities. As a result, women readily contribute towards the development of their communities, and in some instances, are willing to go the extra mile in order to sustain the societies they belong to.
In order to encourage more women to participate in leadership and government, it is necessary that the community and the world as a whole gives them the support needed. Instead of downplaying the efforts of African women, people could encourage them either by listening to their views in an objective manner, participating in women-initiated activities, and helping eradicate the social stigma and discrimination against women in leadership and African women in general.
It is very important that African women align themselves in a position to take on leadership role globally, Africans should be more active in taking global responsibilities. Anyone can be a leader, gender is not a barrier, as long as you are adequately prepared and strategically position yourself to occupy the position.
Having an African woman has the deputy Secretary General of the united nation should serve as eye opener for many African nation that the role of women in leadership cannot be sideline. This maybe the right time for countries like Nigeria and others to try women in that top jobs and leadership positions since it looks obvious that men don’t have solutions or maybe we change the calculation and balance it with women as Vice President, Deputy Governors so they can gain good knowledge and insight from them.