When Fearless Women Lead Women: Africa's Endless Possibilities for Women Leadership

AfricaHouse, known as the Centre of Gravity for Africa in New York, is a mobile show that highlights Africa’s talent and makes the case for investing in this awesome continent. During the week of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Africa House was in New York City - in the legendary Elizabeth Taylor’s old residence (!) and this is exactly the kind of setting that create ambience for not the typical conversation--where multi-sectoral connections and cross-cutting agendas were created.

And this was where Women in Global Health’s Executive Director Roopa Dhatt was invited to speak at an UNGA side-event, “#WomenLead: Fearless Women Leading Women.” The event, held on September 26 and presented by the United Bank for Africa, had a fantastic panel of women leaders. Along with Roopa was Sydney Price, former Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility from Kate Spade & Founder/CEO of The Knew Purpose and Sola Tomi-Ajayi, Country General Manager/Country CEO of the USA for United Bank of Africa, Beatrice Duncan, Policy Advisor, Constitutional and Access to Justice, UN Women, and finally, the moderator - Annette Richardson, Partner of the Ambershore Group.

Women are thriving in Africa, but there is still a long road ahead with challenges which must be addressed. This is also the region with the great challenges. So how do we go about boosting the aspirations and advancements of women in this vast region? This was the big discussion point at this prestigious event. Below are some main takeaways from the event:

1. The first consensus is that laws must create an equal platform to #LeveltheLaw (@UNWomen Campaign) so women can participate equally in society.

- Did you know (DYK): In Africa, 43-51% of economies restrict women’s employment due to jobs being deemed too hazadous, morally inappropriate or industry restrictions (Source: Women, Business and the Law, 2018)

2. For many [women], leading fearless is rooted in their values, their history, and the hope for an even better future for more thriving communities for women and their families.

3. Women’s economic empowerment is crucial to achieving gender equality. The private sector, especially ABA is viewing women, especially small business owners, as a promising investment in Africa.

4. The Triple Gender Dividend is investing in women in health - particularly the health workforce. It is one of the fastest growing sectors - especially for women - and will result in a health dividend, gender equality dividend, and development dividend.

5. Legacy matters. Leaders need to think about what they will leave behind, with their organization and the people they touch - what will be your legacy?

‘Health for All’ enabled and delivered by women leaders at all levels of health from community to global is the legacy we see at WGH.

We thank the organizers sincerely for putting together such a fantastic panel and event at UNGA - we at WGH look forward to more opportunities for collaborative thinking to bring the talent of African women into the forefront.

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