"Provide Constitutional Guarantees for Effective Representation of Women in Governance" Bisi Adeyele-Fayemi
“If women do not have a voice where key decisions which affect their lives are made, then their capacity for full development and equality is severely limited.”
“Women’s involvement in decision-making contributes to redefining political priorities, placing new issues on the political agenda which reflect and address women’s gender-specific concerns, values and experiences, and provides new perspectives on mainstream political issues.”
These were part of an enthralling speech delivered by Bisi Adeleye Fayemi, President of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and First Lady of Ekiti State, Nigeria at the 7th CDD-Ghana Kronti ne Akwamu lecture at the British Council Auditorium in Accra.
The lecture, which is CDD-Ghana’s flagship annual public lecture on democracy and governance, was attended by Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, Members of the Judiciary, Women’s groups, students and lecturers, politicians and civil society.
The eloquent speaker said women bring different leadership skills into the public space than men. She said men have learnt to be leaders by seizing opportunities, competing with their peers, making themselves heard and not just seen, and building hierarchies and networks to get their agendas accomplished.
In the same manner, women have also learnt through their socialisation (as mothers, wives, daughters) to listen, to negotiate, to build bridges and consensus, to work in flexible ways.
“Unfortunately such skills that women have are undervalued as ‘soft skills’ in the worlds of politics and business, and are not considered as important as the ‘hard skills’ that men have. As a result, women are judged by men’s standards and ways of doing things.”
She told her absorbed audience that if a critical mass of women are encouraged into leadership, especially in governance, society will see some real changes in the ways in which communities are managed.
She therefore called on African governments to provide effective regulatory framework for women’s participation in leadership, especially in governance for accelerated development.