The African Women’s Leadership Symposium is a regional platform that brings together women of power and influence occupying various decision-making positions. Women in leadership from all sectors of society, at varying levels, be it political, corporate, development, arts, sciences and beyond will converge to deliberate on how to best actualise transformative leadership in their respective contexts and for the greater benefit of the continent. The Symposium, a first of its kind, will give opportunity to women leaders to deliberate how to leverage their leadership, power, influence and access for the development and progress of the African continent in general and the advancement of women and girls’ rights in particular. It will be a vibrant space for animated interactions and discussions on factors that support and those that hinder women’s access to power, influence and resources in society. It will also be an opportunity to reflect on how to best collaborate inter-sectorally so as to further the agenda of women and girls rights in Africa.
This Symposium is also intended to be a space where women leaders can share experiences and find support from each other, and foster linkages; thereby attaining heightened visibility in order to utilise their positions to positively impact on the status of women and girls in the continent. This gathering will thus emerge as a space to reflect on issues affecting the continent, the role of African women leaders in addressing these issues, their role as influencers in positioning the continent as a global player and how their leadership has and can positively impact on re-defining the narratives on African women in leadership. The Symposium is thus also intended as an expression of pride in the achievements of African women in leadership.
The Symposium is crafted on the understanding that African women have always played a significant role in shaping the social, political and economic spheres in the continent – yet their roles are not always acknowledged or quantified as a significant contribution. It will create a platform for both recognition and a link to present day transformative women’s leadership – threading a needle between the past and present to impact the present and the future. To ensure continuity of this, the Symposium is set to be an annual gathering.
African Women have defied rhetoric and achieved that which was deemed impossible. Women in leadership positions across political and socio-economic platforms have shattered glass ceilings and prove that they possess the undeniable ability to effectively impact and steer the continent to the zenith of equality, equity and development. As the footprints to their successes continue to be documented, the impact is undeniable. African women are debunking the negative narrative of despair too often associated with them and altering the tide of discrimination and disempowerment.
Objectives of the Symposium
AWLS will connect African women of power and influence from different regions of the continent to celebrate the contribution of African women towards transformative leadership while building solidarity and collective action. The specific objectives are to:
- Mobilise African Women Leaders to buy-in to the concept of transformative leadership for women’s rights.
- Create a multi-sectoral space for women leaders from the various sectors of politics, corporate, business, the arts, among others in order to strengthen and amplify the call for greater opportunities for women in the continent.
- Mobilise commitment from participants to adopt deliberate actions, initiatives, projects, approaches, strategies that create space for women and advance women’s rights.
- To promote and enhance inter-sectoral collaboration in championing (an) initiative(s) that touch(es) at least 1 million women in Africa in the year 2016/17.