Empowering Women for the 21st Century: The Challenges of Politics, Business, Development and Leadership
Summary Report of the 9 th Annual Conference Of the Africa Leadership Forum
In Accra, Ghana 27-29 January 1997



Cover Design & Typeset by: Ojo Abraham Taiwo

Printed by Intec Printers Ltd. Km 8, Old Lagos Road, Ibadan


Table of Contents Page Conclusions and recommendations Opening Session: - Welcome Address by H.E. Mrs. Graca Machel - Keynote Address by H. E. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings - Statement by Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf - Statement by Mrs. Marlene V. Urbina de Breen - Statement by Mrs. Eva-Maria Koehler - Empowering of Women As Part of the New International Agenda: Comments on Behalf Of the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA) By Mrs. Aileen Marshall 1

13 17

23 29 33



- Women, Political Participation and Empowerment: An African Women’s Agenda for the 21st Century By Mrs. Vivian Lowery Derryck Session One: - Limitations Faced by Women in Their Quest for Political Participation & Ascendancy By Mrs. Janat B. Mukwaya - Women & Political Participation in Africa: The Limitations of the Immediate Environment By Mrs. Jeredine Williams Sarho Participation of Women in Public Life By Mrs. Elizabeth Akpalu - The Electoral Process & Women Parliamentarians: Identifying the Obstacles – The Congolese Experience By Mine Martine Galloy - Women, Law & Human Rights in Africa by Mrs. Tokunbo Ige Session Two: - Women & Conflict Management in Africa: An Experiential Perspective By Mrs. Sylvie Kinigi - Women & Conflict Management in Africa by Mrs. Bineta Diop - Challenges of the Private Sector by Mrs. Evelyn Mungai







99 107



- Access to Finance: The Micro- Enterprise Revolution by African Development Bank (ADB) - Access to Finance: Micro-Enterprise Revolution by Mrs. Stephanie Baeta Ansah - Evolving Gender Sensitive Policies & Programmes by Amb. Idriss Jazairy - Making Gender Policies: Challenges of a Cross-Gender Approach By Mrs. Kafui Kpegba Dzotsi - Professionalism & Social Obligations: Balancing the Scale By Mme Marcelle Richard - Professionalism & Social Obligations: Balancing the scale By Mrs. Angela Ofori-Atta - Professionalism & Social Obligations: Balancing the Scale By Ms. Katy Diop Appendices: Appendix I – List of Participants Appendix II – Agenda for the Meeting Appendix III- Letter to General Olusegun Obasanjo Appendix IV – Statement by Mrs. Stella Obasanjo Appendix V – Background Note on ALF


137 141




173 179 187 193 195 197


Conclusions and Recommendations
1. The Africa Leadership Forum convened in Accra, Ghana, from 27 to 29 January 1997 its ninth annual international conference (Ota IX) on Empowering Women for the 21st century: The Challenges of Politics Business, Development and Leadership. It was attended by sixty-two participants from twenty six countries, among them women leaders from governments, parliaments, parties, NGOs, academia, the private sector, civil society organisations, and regional and international organisations (see list of participants in annex I). The conference was chaired by Mrs. Graca Machel (Mozambique) and was addressed and opened by the First Lady of Ghana, Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings. 2. At the outset, the conference participants unanimously paid tribute to the leadership of the Forum’s chairman, General Olusegun Obasanjo, and deplored his continued unjustified incarceration by the Nigerian authories. The conference called on General Sani Abacha, the Nigerian Military Head of State, to release General Obasanjo forthwith so as to enable him to resume his selfless activities in promoting African dignity, empowerment, leadership, good governance and human rights. The conference agreed to field a small team with the mandate to call upon General Abacha to convey to him the sentiments of the conference and to press for freedom for General Obasanjo and other political detainees in Nigeria. 3. The conference engaged in a frank and wide-reaching discussion, exchange of experience and search for future action advancing the empowerment of women as the world approaches a new century and millennium, reflected in the attached programme of work (Annex II). The forum provided by ALF allowed the participants to express their


concerns, opinions, assessments and vision on the situation in Africa and in the individual countries. At the conclusion of its deliberations, the conference agreed on a series of recommendations, pertaining to action and practical measures proposed for the international, the regional, the sub-regional and national levels. 4. At the international level, a series of measures should be urgently taken to disseminate the Beijing Plan of Action, to reinforce and intensify the role played by international organisations in implementing and promoting agreements reached through concrete projects and to enhance the role of international organisations in conflict resolution: ?? abbreviated, authoritative version of the Beijing Plan of Action An should be prepared by the United Nations Secretariat for further use by countries regional and sub-regional organizations; ?? implement the agreements reached at the international level, the To budget of the United Nations should be increased above current levels with the increase exclusively to be earmarked for women empowerment programmes, including in the area of conflict resolution; ?? The organisations of the United Nations system engaged in operational activities and the international financing institutions should earmark progressively increasing portions of their project budgets and expenditures for activities related to the advancement of women and the implementation of the Plan of Action at regional and national levels, which was unanimously adopted by all governments in Beijing;


?? Resources should be channelled to the design and implementation of programmes aimed at building capacity of women’s organizations and their access to the rapid developments in the field of information and communication technologies; this will help avoid a further marginalisation of women and foster their integration into societal and international activities; ?? specific needs of women and children in international projects The must more deliberately be provided for in various projects and programmes by international organizations; ?? give practical meaning to the principle of collective security to enshrined in the United Nations Charter; ?? increase the number of programmes financed by international to organisations aimed at building capacity of women's organisations in conflict prevention and. resolution as well as peace-building at the national level; ?? codify the right of intervention in the case of uncontainable to domestic crisis and civil strife with the exclusive objective of protecting civilian population. 5. The above recommendations should. be accorded highest priority on the agenda of women's organisations who are invited to press their respective governments and the international organisations concerned for concrete measures in the directions advocated. 6. Civil society must play a key role in shaping the future of Africa on the threshold to the next millennium. Local, national and international NGOs will have to take the lead in this process especially with a view to eliminating poverty and gender-based discrimination, which are nothing less than denials of human rights. To underpin these activities,


United Nations programmes and funds and other multilateral financial institutions must move beyond the currently prevailing sub-contracting arrangements of some of their project and programme components to NGOS. They must begin to set aside substantial resources for funding local communities to be intermediated by NGOs and to give high priority to such endeavours, especially if they involve promotion of gender equality. In the same vein, an increasing number of African consultants must be retained and women must be accorded priority. 7. At the regional level for Africa, the conference agreed on the following recommendations: ?? African nations should be ranked - based on a progressively refined set of indicators - to reflect their accomplishment as regards women's participation in political and economic spheres, in particular with respect to leadership positions, and the advancement of women in general; ?? these indicators, benchmarks should be determined below which for the performance of countries shall be deemed unsatisfactory; indicators and benchmarks should also be placed within a timeframe during which progress should be attained; they thus would become targets for policy-makers, companies and society at large, who would feel compelled to devise strategies for the attainment of the targets; ?? given the palpable lack of progress in the implementation of the Beijing Plan of Action, a message of concern should be addressed to the next OAU Council of Ministers (Tripoli, February 1997) deploring the absence of tangible progress and the apparent lack of political commitment and will;


?? moreover, at present, the structures, agendas and processes of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) are male dominated; to redress this unsatisfactory situation a series of affirmative gendersensitive measures must be taken by the OAU to give practical meaning to various provisions and endorsements of international action plans; ?? drive this process and to build necessary commitment and support to throughout the Organisation and its membership, a small group of independent experts - with a significant representation of women experts - should be set up with the task of suggesting and implementing a more responsive organizational structure and of appointing a larger number of female staff, especially at senior levels, in accordance with the provisions of Beijing and other conferences; ?? women's rights are human rights, the composition of the African as Commission on Human Rights - currently with only two women among its members - must be improved to provide for a better participation of women; to that effect African Governments are urged to nominate qualified. women and to propose to the OAU that they be appointed to the three upcoming vacancies. ?? establishment of a meaningful early warning system on potential the intra- and inter-state conflicts, drawing also on inputs from women's organisations and other civil society actors; ?? drawing on the results of competent international research institutes and institutions, to disseminate information on all arms trades involving African countries so as to allow public scrutiny with a view to curbing unnecessary purchases;


?? production and deployment of landmines on African soil should the be banned and an international agreement should be concluded to that effect; ?? reduce military expenditures as a whole and to introduce certain to measures whereby official development assistance would be cut or frozen for countries exceeding agreed benchmark levels; ?? present availability of arms everywhere in African societies i,, a the subject of deep preoccupation; all necessary steps should be taken to remove the basis arming civilians and thereby to demilitarize societies as a whole. 1. For the sub-regional level, it is recommended that ALF identify and connect organisations as focal points which should form one network in order to advance the access of women to critical positions of leadership and. to various sources of information in Africa. The role of sub-regional organisations, such as ECOWAS, in peacemaking and peacekeeping should be strengthened and. they should also draw on the resources available in women's organisations. 2. At the national level a variety of measures should be initiated: ?? Beijing Plan of Action and its proposed abbreviated version the should be translated as quickly as possible into various languages, in particular African languages, so as to deepen knowledge about its provisions at the grassroots level and about the agreements entered into by all Governments; ?? progress in the advancement and empowerment of women requires the close interaction of parliamentarians - who legislate-governments -who allocate resources - and women activists and


NGOs for the purpose of defining a common vision based on shared values; ?? to provide a regular mechanism of feedback between all parliamentarians and their constituencies so as to make them accountable for action or inaction in advancing the cause of women; ?? given forecasts and projections that the next millennium will be driven by advances in technology, the participants lamented the present high rates of illiteracy, forty years after independence. They urged governments to consider this as a first line of battle in the preparation of future generations of Africans and to cope with the challenges of the next century; ?? given the critical role of education and the present low rate of female enrolment, renewed and sustained efforts will be required at the primary level in order to prevent a deterioration in literacy and to lay the necessary basis for future empowerment at the secondary and tertiary levels. A critical mass of qualified women is especially needed for science and technology as well as manufacturing; ?? process of revising curricula should be broadened with a view to the mainstreaming gender/women in development issues, to give full recognition to the rights of women and to highlight female role models; ?? provide access to resources so as to enable women to enter and to compete in the political process with a view to increasing the representation of women;


?? accelerate the advancement of women and to promote solidarity to and mutually reinforcing concerns, regular exchanges of experience and peer training will be invaluable; to that end cross-fertilisation of existing networks of women leaders should be facilitated by ALF including: ?? women parliamentarians ?? women in senior positions in the public service; ?? women in managerial and executive positions in the private sector; ?? women in academic and research institutions; ?? Women in NGO and CBO leadership positions; ?? Women in professional associations. 3. Such fora should lead to common agendas for the sustainable Promotion of gender/women in development issues and the necessary change in attitudes of societies as a whole. ?? networking can be greatly facilitated through information and communications technologies and especially access to e -mail and the Internet; countries should ensure that connectivity be established and offered at affordable levels. ?? special attention must be paid to reach-out and linkages to the rural level in terms of content, message and strategies; this poses a special responsibility for women already occupying leadership positions.


4. As regards the involvement of' women in the private sector and business activities, the participants underline the need to sensitize African women to sources of information pertaining to business activities. Women must also be educated, through capacity-building, on how to make a transition from the informal to the formal sector. Altogether, greater participation of businesswomen in the decisionmaking process should be facilitated on issues related to trade, investment and finance, including participation in intra-Africa trade and trade missions. Ultimately, African businesswomen should be encouraged to think big when it comes to economic empowerment so as to be able to capture a bigger slice of the markets and business opportunities. The African Development Bank and the Africa Project Development Facility must play a more assertive role in enabling women's economic empowerment. For their part, governments should provide incentives for women to have access to credit. 5. The conference participants expressed their concern at the worsening situation of the poor and in particular the poor women in Africa. The Microcredit Summit, about to be held in Washington, D.C. (2-4 February 1997) is therefore a most timely event to promote a much wider use of this effective mechanism for the alleviation of poverty. Indeed, the objective should be that by the year 2025 some 100 million families be the beneficiaries of microcredit and related financial services. This is unlikely to succeed short of the full commitment of Governments, local authorities and civil society as a whole. Equally, multilateral institutions and UN programmes and funds must provide financial and technical support to communities in Africa for poverty-focused and gender-sensitive microcredit and finance schemes at a much larger scale than is now the case. Such support should be provided with sufficient flexibility and a minimum of bureaucratic requirements and hurdles to place the schemes within the reach of the poorest. Non-governmental organisations can play an important intermediary role in the process.


6. In the same spirit, donor governments should pledge additional resources to multilateral institutions and funds specifically for the direct funding of NGC) grassroots microcredit and finance initiatives. All African ('Governments and NGCOs together with donors should measure the efficiency of such schemes not merely on the basis of traditional commercial banking criteria (such as rate of interest, level of savings and default/non-payment rate) but should also take explicit account of the poverty and gender impact. To that end, appropriate base line surveys should be developed as should indicators to measure impact. 7. The participants agreed to mobilize their own human resources and other capacities to develop and reinforce the solidarity between the African leaders present in Accra, men and women, especially poor rural women. The ultimate goal must be the elimination of all genderbased discrimination through research, advocacy and programme funding. 8. The meeting acknowledged and commended the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) for the pioneering work it has done on the subject of corruption - which was identified as a malignant problem that impacts negatively on African development. It calls on the OAU to seize the momentum created by the three regional conferences concluded by ALF in 1995 on Corruption, Democracy and Human Rights in Africa, and commence a continental initiative that would comprehensively deal with the cancerous problem of corruption especially as it affects its member nations in all fields of societal activities. 9. The meeting also calls on the countries of the North, multilateral and bilateral agencies to concretise efforts toward the combat of corruption through a global initiative.


10. It was suggested that a forum should be created for young Africans to facilitate an opportunity to exchange information among themselves which could also serve as means of information gathering for the leadership training and development in Africa and thus, may help prepare the successor generation of Africans for the challenges of leadership in the next millennium. 11. The meeting also recommended that the Africa Leadership Forum, in consultation with other organisations, undertake to prepare a leadership skills package which can be disseminated to organisations in Africa concerned with leadership training. Preparing the successor generation of leaders must be done with a view to making them remain authentic Africans who can effectively engage and interact with the rest of the world as African citizens of the world. 12. Parliamentarians, ministers, and other opinion leaders with track records of integrity and honest achievements should take it as a matter of necessity to address young people sharing with them their experiences through lectures and symposia as an added means of motivating the young to aspire to greater heights of leadership. An participants at the meeting pledged to report back to the 1998 Forum on progress made in this respect. 13. Concerted efforts should be undertaken at both sub-regional as well as the regional levels to create a series of youth exchange programmes for young Africans. Exposure to different facets of life and living in Africa other than their countries of origin should enable them to expand their horizons. 14. As a corollary of the need for literacy and education, the well-. rounded development of children requires a stable family environment capable of imbuing in the growing chi-Id a sense of emotional stability - which is indispensable for developing the potentials of a child.


15. The conference agreed to recommend to the Africa Leadership Forum Executive Committee that, for its own part, it should assume a prominent and ongoing role in facilitating and evaluating the realisation of the above recommendations. To that end, ALF is called upon: ?? establish within its existing framework the African Women’s’ to Forum and to organize annually one international conference to evaluate progress, exchange experience and stimulate concrete action, building on the present Accra conference; ?? invite participants in the African Women’s Forum to identify to promising female participants below the age of 25 so that at least 1/3 of future participants can be drawn from among the youth; ?? ensure at all ALF conferences – manatorily – 50 per cent to women’s participation: ?? seek advice from women in the media and the press as to how to bets to communicate the concerns and recommendations pertaining to gender issues; ?? support the formation and operations of a group of African to women leaders entrusted with promoting the African women’s agenda. 16. The conference participants expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government of Ghana for having enabled the holding of this conference and their particular and profound gratitude to the First Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Nana Agyeman Rawlings, for her abiding interest in the conference and its progress and for her generous hospitality extended to the participants at a specially orgnaised reception and a series of private meetings. 17. The participants expressed appreciation to the Africa Leadership Forum for having convened this important conference which provided a unique opportunity for exchange and mutual enrichment.




Welcome Address
by H.E. Mrs. Graca Machel1 On behalf of the Africa Leadership Forum, I am honoured and privileged to welcome you to this meeting on “Empowering Women for the 21st Century: The Challenges on Politics, Business, Development and Leadership. We thank you all for having accepted our invitation to participate in what we expect is going to be a significant contribution to enhance our common agenda. Each one of you brings knowledge, accumulated experience and expertise, vision and commitment which we believe will give renewed impetus to the vast and broad chain of oppressed African women who are struggling to assert their rights and elevate their profile. The Africa Leadership Forum conducts its contribution to foster security, stability, development and cooperation in our continent. Within a diverse range of initiatives, we are committed to highlight women’s issues, with the aim to improve the environment in which they can take the place they rightly deserve in leadership. Vision, leadership and commitment are dimensions of our action. We dream and persistently engage our energy to effect change. These are dimensions and qualities we learnt from our founder and leader, General Obasanjo, who will always be an inspiration to Africa Leadership Forum. He offered the forum to all Africans who strive to


Member, Executive Committee, Africa Leadership Forum.


promote our people in the continent to share the benefits of development human kind has achieved. Therefore, he offered this platform to African women, as citizens of our motherland and of the world. As we continue the work he started with us, we are keeping his ideals in motion, we refuse to let his dream be locked, we cherish the freedom of his mind and spirit with each one of us. May I take this opportunity to thank the government of Ghana for allowing the operations of Africa Leadership Forum from this country. And now to you, First Lady and dear sister, we are proud to count on you in the ranks of those who foster gender agenda. From the high position you hold, you invest your energy and leadership to uplift the living standards, of the floor, and particularly to enhance and promote the status of women in this country. You are a role model we wish to see replicated in our continent. Thanks you for sharing your vision and experience with us today. The meeting is expected to be a working meeting. Not a repetition of diagnosis. It is expected to take stock of where we are now, and what concrete and practical steps we need to take, to move forward. The women’s agenda had been on for quite a number of years now. While we acknowledge the progress already made, the truth is that the progress is modest. Today, I deliberately want us not to concentrate on the external impediments for the advancement of women. I want us to analyse critically the weaknesses from within the movement itself. How we


have been orgnaised, how failed to build a powerful, connected and persuasive movement. 1. For example, let us take three fields: politics, business, science, technology and research. ?? How are women promoting change, i.e. gender relations relate to one another? Building partnerships, identifying common strategies, fostering complementarity? ?? Holding high political positions is meaningless if it does not relate to the broadening of real opportunities for women to get access to formal and big business – agriculture, mining, manufacturing, financial institutions, information technologies, etc. Not simply in the informal sector! ?? How women in parliaments and government promote women to the mainstream of the big business, so that they can influence the economy of our countries and the redistribution of wealth? ?? What about women in the scientific and technological fields? Do they influence the academic and research community to foster gender equity and to invest knowledge and research results for the betterment of women in politics and in business? ?? And more importantly, how women in politics, in formal business, in scientific and technological fields relate and invest in uplifting of women in grassroots? ?? How do they invest in your generation? Do they exercise leadership to the whole gender movement both with adult and young generations?


?? Sometimes, even NGOs pursue narrow agendas and do not relate to those who are in decision making positions. ?? How can we ever dream to effect a solid, sound and sustainable change, ignoring the power of working together? 2. Women’s movement in Africa never set short, medium, long term goals. Its motion aims at the ultimate goal, which is ideal. But without a proper planning process, we can hardly establish adequate strategies and methodologies; we will not know how to evaluate progress and failure; we lack indicators of where to strengthen, where to improve, where to correct, where are the gaps. 3. Women’s movement in Africa has no institutional capacity to lead its own process from within. For example, if we want to get information on women’s status, we have to refer to UNDP, UNICEF or some international NGO such as Human Rights Watch, etc. In my language, there is a proverb which says “a neighbour’s granary will never fill your stomach”. I challenge African women to take responsibility for their own destiny collectively. To stop playing victims. To stop pointing fingers to men, to tradition, to culture, to any other argument to explain our modest progress. I do not underestimate the obstacles. I am saying it is up to us to remove them. Men are our children, our brothers, our husbands, our colleagues. Let us engage them to change gender relations. Women are the guardians of tradition and culture. Tradition and culture will continue to sow discrimination of women in the minds of our children as long as we continue to preach it to them.


I challenge all of us to take responsibility to change our own destiny by organising and building chains of solidarity and networking; setting comprehensive and achievable goals in different phases; raising awareness; and challenging ourselves to fly high and master science and technology of our times. We can do it. We must do it. Let us work to make of this meeting a positive step forward.


Keynote Address
by H. E. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawling2 It is most appropriate that so early in the year an invaluable opportunity such as this one has been provided to re-focus our attention on the crucial issue of African women in politics, development and leadership. I believe that the timing of this conference makes room for re-viewing and re-dedicating ourselves to a practical agenda which will move from the conference room to the field, so that at the end of the year, we can assess the impact of our collective effort. I am also most gratified that this meeting brings together women from across the continent. How many times has it been said that no single African nation in today’s world can make any progress unless, as we say in Ghana, “she ties her cloth end to end” with other nations of the continent. I believe that many people find that idea tiresome because they have heard it over and over again. Yet the concept has indeed come up during moments of crisis and also of inspired leadership. We can think of the rise of pan-Africanism in the early part of this century and African unity in the mid-1960s. At these peaks, when we became filled with active consciousness of our vulnerability as a divided continent, we took a few tottering steps towards cooperation. We established institutions and bureaucracies, we

First lady of Ghana, and President 31st December Women’s Movement Ghana


signed agreements named after our capital cities, and name streets after our heroes. The problem is, what happens in between these peaks. I fear that we as women do not pay enough attention to our role in fostering and promoting the matter of closer interaction among Africans which is critical to our development. As women, we have established ourselves as a group of people who take a practical approach to problems. Madam Chairperson, it is my sincerest expectation that we shall apply ourselves in the context of this forum to showing by action, the way forward, towards closer cooperation among African women. Let us not for once believe that this is a matter which is not of practical or immediate importance. I wish to repeat that, as our visionaries have reiterated time and again, it is a matter of survival for all our people, for our fate is irrevocably joined together. I, therefore, welcome you heartily once again as sisters and hope that unity will be a key area around which we develop major strategies. Madam Chairperson, I sincerely hope these realities are given all the attention that they deserve. There is someone in your family, village, town or city who falls in one or many of these categories. It is something I believe we should take personally because my vision of the African woman in the 21st century is that of a well-informed, conscious and motivated person who can make a distinct contribution to the development of her people and reap the benefits of such development.


I must explain that in looking forward into the 21st century, my vision of an era of transformation, where African women with their energies released and skills sharpened, will offer their families, communities, people, and indeed the world at large, alternative approaches to tackling the key problems plaguing the world today. The transformative role of women is likely to become more and more important because the prevailing approach of unbridled competitiveness seems to be creating a spiral of reckless exploitation of the world’s resources and deepening inequalities. This must give way to greater solidarity and the nurturing of people and resources, if the world is not to end up as a living hell for all but very few of its inhabitants. I do not by this mean that I see the African woman as a docile and passive person simply pleading to her menfolk to stop fighting. Nor do I see her meekly begging rich nations to be kind to her and her children. No! I see her as being committed to struggle for the establishment of an era of solidarity, innovation and responsible use of the resources of her continent and indeed the globe. I am in this respect proposing that a new type of leadership is required to set us all on the right path. This is not a cry for a utopian existence. It is a call for a pragmatic approach towards conserving the dignity of human existence. Since we seem to feel the effects of the present system most acutely, should we not also be the ones to take some leadership in resolving the problems posed? I would to even further to suggest that no strategy for the reinforcement of a positive human existence will succeed if it does not involve the active participation of the African woman.


Far from being the so-called marginalised, pitiable image of human failing, African women can and must put themselves in their rightful position – a position of strength. African womanhood, in truth, is a symbol of resilience and strength, both physical and emotional. Our women have confronted deprivation of the worst kind with ingenuity. They have emerged from conflict more determined than ever to rebuild their households and communities. They have persisted in creating wealth even if only at a subsistence level out of almost negligible capital and incalculable odds. Our women pay their debts. They have also kept our history in order to pass it down to our children. Above all, they have kept the irrepressible song of our people whether it be a song of sorrow or of joy, they have kept us inspired and comforted. This is the other side of the coin. I am convinced that each and everyone you can easily identify with at least some of these aspects of the African woman’s experience. I wish to submit that these are the bankable characteristics of our existence. We will not only improve our existence as African women by building on these assets, but we shall also be empowered to take our rightful place in directing world affairs, not merely for the sake of it but because global political economy affects us directly and often negatively. The way forward remains thorny and must be skillfully negotiated. Peace must be established on our troubled continent in all its dimensions, and here I speak both of physical strife as well as conditions such as object deprivation which form the lingering basis for the absence of peace.


Peace must be earned and maintained. This requires consistent and united effort. The Africa woman must show leadership in this area. As far as development is concerned, there is still the vexed question of the access of women to information, facilities and credit which currently has us at the bottom, of the ladder. Again, we must develop the capacity to negotiate, form strategic partnership, and run larger enterprises. The social struggle are no less demanding. The bitter battle against dehumanising prejudice and gender-based inequities must unfortunately be pursued with renewed vigour. This can be said to be the single most pernicious area where visible and invisible barriers are erected affecting women in ways that are penetrating and difficult to uproot. Here, the need is not only to free women but to free their social partners, whether they be at home or at work. Our whole society needs to exorcise itself of prejudice and once again we are at the receiving end and must therefore take leadership in resoling these matters. The 21st century is a frontier for us all. We are, unfortunately, still pioneers but this offers us all rich opportunities to bring to the fore the strengths and potential of our women. I must say that I am bumbled by the opportunity which I have had to experience the latent and true power and initiative of African women. The framework for their participation in politics, development and leadership has already been laid out and can be further fashioned from their own experiences and strategies developed over centuries. In the 21st century, I see the African woman finally reaping equitably from the seeds sown by the millennia of unsung heroines. I envisage struggle that will end in sustained fulfillment.


As we have done for centuries, let me recall for all of us representatives of our ancestresses who have led the way. Let us not forget Queen Nzinga, Moremi, Yenenga, Yaa Asantewaa Nefertiti, Princess Amina, etc. I pray that we shall have an inspiring session together and prepare a simple, workable set of strategies which we can propose to our millions of compatriots for adoption. May our efforts be crowned with success. I am once again most privileged to h ave been given the opportunity to address you on this auspicious occasion and I wish, on this note, to declare the Africa Leadership Forum conference for 1997 duly opened. Thank you.


by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf3 It is my profound regret that I am unable to join you today. I consider this meeting to be of great importance, but was unable to change a number of commitments made earlier on. I wish you well in your deliberations and will be looking forward to a report on the meeting. As some of you know, there has been a long partnership between UNDP and the Africa Leadership Forum. From the inception of the Forum, UNDP has supported its work as well believe the issue of leadership is at the heart of many of Africa’s problems today. I want to commend the Forum’s efforts, both under the leadership of its Chairman, Olusegun Obasanjo, and as it continues to work under the guidance of Francis Deng. Forty years ago, sub-Saharan Africa was at the threshold of a new era. In less than one generation, the irreversible force for independence led to the political emancipation of most countries on the continent. In 1957, Ghana became the first country to attain independence, and within the next 14 years, more than two-thirds of all African countries had been liberated from rule by colonial powers. The quality of leadership was a major ingredient in the progress made in African countries during the 60s and 70s. The present crises should not make us forget that progress was made on a wide variety of fronts, including education and infrastructure.


Assistant Administrator & Director, Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


Today, we know that the vision exhibited by many leaders in Africa is but a shadow of what drove the struggle for independence. In those cases where we do have leadership grounded in integrity and commitment to the welfare of people, it is viewed as an exception to the rule. All too quickly after independence, focused vision has been replaced by dispersion and diversion of goals; long-term strategies and planning by myopic or short-term economic policies. Leader after leader has exchanged inclusive social, political and economic policies for partisanship, tribal allegiance and generally exclusive tendencies. Excellence is no longer a normal criterion. The challenge of development in Africa today is to identify and nurture the kind of leadership that will move our countries from their present state onto the path of peace and sustainable development. There are already efforts for this – there is an African already demonstrating her potential for success, even if the road to its realisation is long and difficult. And there is an African which has reawakened to the realisation that the responsibility and the promise for development lie in the effective utilisation of her own resources, both human and financial. In some measure, this Africa is right here in this room – it is represented by all of you, who are together examining the means by which Africa’s potential can be fulfilled. Nurturing and supporting this Africa will require actions on many fronts. When we look back at those years of progress, we know that women contributed in many ways to the attainment of independence and to confronting the challenges of that time. However, their important contributions remained unrecognised and gradually, in many cases, marginalised and disempowered. One of the most important measures to be taken, therefore, is the need to invest in women’s capabilities and to empower them to participate fully in the mainstream of decision-making, at all levels. Many of us know the difference women make at local levels, as they articulate and promote


development priorities which will benefit not only themselves but their communities at large. If we are to transform our societies, it will be the energy and vision of women which will give the momentum to the necessary changes. I believe that women’s vision for their societies often differ from men’s because they understand clearly the impact of distorted priorities on their families and communities. The vision of women is one of inclusion, not exclusion; peace, not conflict; integrity, not corruption and consensus, not imposition. In countries racked by armed conflict, where women and children civilians have been Particularly targeted, women are still the major interlocutors for peace. In countries where economic policies are determined by the greed. of a narrow elite, women are calling for the national resources to be used for all, regardless of ethnic or regional considerations. During the process leading to the Dakar and Beijing Conferences, African women and conscientised men reflected on the situation of their societies and the requirements to move forward. The Platform for Action show clearly that there is an African and global consensus that gender equality is critical to the achievement of peace and sustainable development. The Platforms are comprehensive guidelines for future action and all African governments have made commitments to implement them. Let us be clear - the objectives of Dakar and Beijing are not a "women's thing". They do include specific steps to overcome the obstacles to women's empowerment and advancement. However, if implemented, the benefits - peace, equality and development - will be for all of us, men, women and children. As I said earlier, UNDP has identified leadership as a critical issue for African societies. Leadership and governance - governance based on a partnership between civil society and the state - are integrally linked. The emergence of governance as a topical issue must not be seen as


something fashionable or donor-driven. The call for sound governance comes from within Africa, from the new Africa, because there is abundant evidence to show that those countries which have participatory, accountable and transparent governments, and which respect the rule of law, have a much better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty and conflict. UNDP is the co-lead agency, with ECA, for the governance component of the United Nations System-Wide Special Initiative on Africa. We are committed to strengthening our partnership with the new Africa and therefore, to a full partnership with African women. This partnership has already moved us to promote new thinking on development - a paradigm which places people at the development. Defined as Sustainable Human Development it reflects the. three themes of Beijing - Quality, Peace and Development. The new paradigm, in large measure a response to the call to action by women, is consistent with view that the full potential Africa can only be realised when women become full participants in their countries’ development processes. The sustainable Human Development Report initiated and produced by UNDP is a multi-disciplinary tool which materialises the thinking of the organization and its commitment to the empowerment of women. This report constitutes the greatest contribution of UNDP towards the conception of policies and adequate strategies which would lead women into the effective and sustainable development of Africa in the 21' century. The 1995 report which stresses the gender equity is unequivocal as it says:
Human development must be: engendered. If development is meant to u7iden opportunities for all people, then continuing exclusion of women from many opportunities of life totally warps the process of development


This truth is sustained by analysis and appropriate data in 1995 report. As a development partner, we have already begun to s women's quest for political empowerment. In Zimbabwe, w provided funding for a special project on assisting women to move into decision-making positions. A critical element is “power mapping" - the identification of key positions where women believe they need to be placed in order to influence decisions. These can be anywhere from national boards to local councils to the presidency! Identification of women with the requisite expertise and interest is then conducted and those women are supported for those positions. The support may include advocacy, networking, financial, resources, etc. In some cases, because women are disadvantage in their societies, there are often women who have the potential for these positions but require some leadership and skills training. Confidence-building and encouraging other women to support their sister are also critical elements. In Rwanda, UNDP is supporting the Ministry of Family and the Advancement of Women and Women's Associations and NGOs in a campaign for peace. Despite the horrors of genocide and rape, women are envisioning a new society based on tolerance and an end to impunity. UNDP is supporting them to build a consensus on peace and to begin the long process - of rebuilding and eventually transforming their society. Our support for women in these processes is non-partisan. We are supporting women to ensure that they reach to the cent-re of national decision-making and are committed to neutrality and universality. With or without the cooperation of other partners in development, the UNDP is giving support to a lot of initiatives whose objective is to make available new opportunities to women in the private sector.


African Project Development Facility is a specific example initiated by UNDP together with the ADB and the World Bank. Worthy of mentioning is also the discussions initiated by the ECA to support the Africa Federation of Women Entrepreneurs for the Creation of an African Bank for the Women on the same lines as that of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. We know that different strategies will be required for different situations. The quota system, used so effectively in Nordic countries, has been used in some African countries with good results. Let us share strategies and see what works. Let us not limit ourselves - why should the next UN secretary-general not be a woman? Why indeed, should the future elections for OAU secretary-general not see a number of women candidates? Our struggle for the awakening of people to women's potentials and for their rise to decision-making positions, brings back to memory the very struggle sustained by our elders for the liberation of the continent from colonial rule. I appeal to you, sisters, to stand up with determination to seize every opportunity at this historic turning point. It is time to act. This would win for us the gratitude of humanity and specifically that of the young generation. I am sure that your deliberations will be exciting. I am sorry to miss them. I wish all of you well in your individual and collective efforts and assure you of UNDP’s continued support on the journey to full participation for women.


by Marlene V. Urbina de Breenf4 Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak to such a distinguished group of participants. It is indeed a pleasure to be with you at the Africa Leadership Forum annual meeting on behalf of Mr. George Moose, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the United State Department of State. As you may know, Assistant Secretary Moose has a deep personal and professional interest in Africa, its development, the status of women, and fundamentally in the advancement of equal human rights for women. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Africa Leadership Forum in choosing such a timely and important topic for discussion at this year’s annual meeting: Empowering Women for the twenty-first Century. The United States has assigned great importance to women’s issues, and in particular to the Platform for Action endorsed at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. To the extent that we can use gatherings such as this to foster greater understanding and solidarity among African women and with their counterparts in America, we will keep the spirit of the Beijing conference alive. Although I did not attend the Beijing conference, I did follow the proceedings very closely. I think the conference helped to advance the interests of African women. The conference showed the world what African women have to offer. The African delegations left a strong and positive impression because of their unity of purpose and their ability to negotiate and articulate their needs. We must keep this momentum growing into the twenty-first century.

Representing Mr. George Moose, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.


Over the next three days, the Africa Leadership Forum will be focusing on issues very important to women in this vast continent. Some of these issues include: ?? Promoting and protecting the human rights of women and, in particular, eliminating violence against women. ?? Expanding the participation of women in political and economic decision making. ?? Assuring equal access to education and practical leadership training. ?? Strengthening judicial systems to ensure women’s legal and human rights. ?? Developing effective strategies to encourage fuller understanding and support of African men to gender equality between men and women. These are challenging issues which not only resonate with all of us as women but equally as professionals – whether in the public or private sector and as community leaders. These issues also have resonance around the world, in particular the United States. Over the past year, it has become clear to many of us in Washington that the success of U.S. policy in Africa rests, in large part, upon helping African women enhance their status in society, and increase their participation in public and private life: ?? We cannot promote democracy and respect for human rights without taking into account the status and treatment of women, who make up over 50 per cent of the population in Africa.


?? our efforts to prevent or resolve armed conflict, we must In recognise that women and children are the primary victims of conflict in Africa. Women comprise the highest percentage of the refugee population. They are the primary beneficiaries of humanitarian assistance. For these two reasons, women can and must play a critical role in conflict resolution throughout the continent. ?? For the vast majority of African women, political progress is impeded by a lack of economic power. Although women are preeminent actors in the agricultural sectors and the informal sectors, more efforts are needed to empower women economically. ?? The role and contribution of women in Africa's sustainable economic development are profound. We believe African women must have a role in all sectors, including developing democratic institutions, building capacity, protecting the environment, managing population growth, and developing the continent's economic future through trade. Our commitment to advance African women's issues is strong. We are working on ways to incorporate Beijing's principles in our decisionmaking process. For example, we are putting greater emphasis on women's human rights and participation in democratisation when we review our program proposals as well as in those institutions in which the United States is a donor country. Through the various programmes of the U.S. Agency for International Development, we are aiming to build capacity of African women legislators, lawyers, and advocates. Through the U.S. Information Service International Visitors Programme, which bring African women political leaders to the United States, we are exposing African women to democratic institutions. Furthermore, each of our embassies in Africa is monitoring the followup to the Beijing conference in their host countries. They are working with African women to make the biggest difference, despite our limited resources. Embassies are facilitating meetings among non-


governmental organisations. Further, we regularly encourage government officials to include more women in policy discussion in many areas. In the United States, we are also taking measures to implement the Beijing Platform for Action and we would be happy to share our experiences. We are not the only ones beginning to view African women as critical business, economic and political. partners. We are pleased to see that key institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the African Development Bank are also recognising that African women must be made an integral part of Africa's development. These institutions are infusing their work with a gender perspective rather than simply creating women’s projects. These institutions have come to recognise that investments in women yield the highest returns to society. We all know well that the educated woman is more likely to have healthy children, to contribute more to her family’s well-being, and to realise more of her unique potential. Where women enjoy equal rights, equal protection, and equal opportunities, all society progresses. There is much more we can accomplish and do. I am here today as representative of my government to learn more about the problems facing African women, and to find solutions which would tear down the barriers that thwart active participation of African women in government and deny them economies opportunities. For a such as this offer valuable opportunities to exchange views as to other best means of addressing the many critical problems which remain. As we enter the twenty-first century, I think the real challenge for those of us concerned with women issues is how to move more effectively on the ground to bring about meaningful progress for African women. We, in the United States and our embassies in Africa, see our role now and into the future as one of fundamental support for the process that are enabling African women to realise their existing potential.


by Eva-Maria Kohlerf5 Despite a friendly working atmosphere and progress in the work of the IVth World Conference on Women in Beijing a little over a year ago, it was a cliff-hanger right up to the end until agreement was reached by the countries involved that:
Women’s empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society in the decision-making process and access to power are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace.

It has been a long struggle since the publication of the Work “A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792 by an Anglo-Irish woman, Mary Wollstonecraft, challenging the idea that women exist only to please men and proposing that women should receive the same treatment as men in education, work opportunities, and politics and that the same moral standards should be applied to them. We all know that the process of rooting out injustices against women which are to be found in all societies, has unfortunately not come to an end despite persistent efforts and we all know that there are still serious imbalances concerning the self-actualization. Therefore, it seems to me very timely that the Africa Leadership Forum has taken the initiative to organise a conference on “African Women in Politics, Development and Leadership” and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a German non-governmental organisation aiming especially at the Promotion of liberal ideas, gladly assists ALF, our partner for many years, in this effort.

Representing Mr. George Moose, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.


On behalf of the Foundation, I wish to extend a very warm and cordial welcome to all of you and in particular to the First lady of Ghana, H.E. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and H.E. Graca Machel, Member of the Executive Committee of the ALF, gracing this occasion as well as to the distinguished resource speakers. They all kindly agreed to share their experience with us to explore strategies for effecting grater effectiveness of women in the participation in leadership. Yet I also have to give credit to all the helping hands for their tireless efforts rendered in arranging this conference. There have been gradual changes for the better of the role of women in society but all know that there are still tremendous shortcomings. Most of the women who work outside the home are still heavily concentrated in the lowest paying, least prestigious jobs. At home, the male members of the family are often better fed than the females. Illiteracy among women in sub-Saharan Africa as at 199,5 is above 50% as against slightly over 30% for me. Two figures illustrate the low number of women in politics. Half of the world's electorate is female and yet they hold just 10% of the parliamentary seats. And a mere 6% of ministerial positions are held by women. Experience has show time and again that women are equally capable as men in many types of work, whether professional or nonprofessional. In spite of this fact, in the treatment of women fairness and justice is often not executed. Since the fundamental cause of the subordinate status of women is deeply rooted in social, economic, legal. and political structures, as well as in culturally determined attitudes, solutions can only be found in far-reaching changes. Therefore, prejudices on gender roles have to be further discussed, but to me it seems particularly necessary to adopt policies of affirmative action to ensure that women are given equal rights and opportunities to work their way up through the ranks to decision and policy-making levels. The real challenge is to implement what has already been agreed upon


in various action programmes. It is hoped that this conference helps to set out the path for the advancement of women in Africa, that this event stimulates you in a spirit of self-reliance and self-realisation so that you formulate new ideas, acquire new inspirations and chart a new horizon in an action programme in order to support the striving of women for progress and an improved quality of life. Wishing that you will find the meeting and your task both fruitful and enjoyable, once again, I cordially welcome all of your.


Empowerment of Women as Part of the New International Agenda: Comments on Behalf of The Global Coalition for Africa
by Aileen Marchall6 Firstly, I would like to thank the organizers of this meeting, the Africa Leadership Forum, for inviting the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA) to participate. It is indeed an honour for me to be here today representing the GCA. We regret that the Executive Secretary of the GCA, Ambassador Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, cannot be here personally due to other commitments. Of course, we are without the guiding light behind the ALF, General Obasanjo, and we will miss his contribution. The topic of this meeting is one which is very dear to the General, who has long been a champion of equal rights for women, and remains convinced that Africa and the world would be better if more women were involved in decision making and the political process. This meeting is a step along the way, and he will be proud that it is taking place, even though he cannot be with us. I join others in hoping that the authorize in Nigeria will find it possible to permit the General to take his rightful place among us soon. I was asked to make some remarks on the empowerment of women as part of the new international agenda for development. It is true that there has been a change in our understanding of what is required to make development work, and also of the role of various actor in the process. However, the world we live in has also changed, and our view of development, and of empowerment women to contribute to that development, has to be in keeping with that changed - and changing world. I would like therefore begin by mentioning what seem to be

Senior Advisor, Global Coalition for Africa, Washington.


some aspects of the changing world in which we find ourselves at the end of the 1990s. Firstly, the environment is indeed international. Globalization is fast becoming the defining term of our times. The world is increasingly fast-paced and competitive, and money goes where there are opportunities. Trade, financial. markets, information, and manufacturing are all becoming more global, although African countries remain the least integrated into these world markets. For the first time, private investment flows are greater than official development assistance, although once again African countries have not been very successful in- attracting these flows. At the same time certain issues have gained greater international attention - there is now more concern about human rights and political freedom throughout the world, and the internationalization of the media and the communications revolution mean that abuses of human rights no longer go unnoticed. The trend towards democratization is also global. Although there are certainly variations in the degree of political liberty which pertains, there are very few wholly authoritarian, closed I regimes left in the world today. Along with the general breakdown of authoritarianism, there has been a move toward more pluralistic political systems, with more emphasis on participation representation. This is as true in Africa as in other regions world throughout the African continent, there is less repression, a greater degree of political freedom and civil liberty than a ago. The agenda for development is part of this changed world. Old concepts and ideas have given way to a more integrated approach which seeks ways to help countries fit into the new international environment, and to take advantage of it. This is not to say that there was no development as a result of past efforts - a look at some of the


basic indicators will show that there have been considerable advances. But it is now accepted that, for a variety of reasons, the results have generally been far less than were anticipated, and greater efforts have to be made to address poverty and improve the living standards of the majority of people on a sustainable basis. The new development paradigm emphasizes partnership, and the importance of countries taking charge of their own development. Thus there has been a shift from donor-driven development policies toward donor support for country-defined strategies and programmes. At the same time, there has been increased emphasis on participation. Just as it was realised that development could not be defined by donors, so it has been realised that development win not come from government actions alone. The active participation of all citizens, in partnership with governments, is crucial if sustainable development is to be achieved and a better future created. In addition, there is now a greater understanding of the role played by women, and of the importance' of gender in the development process. It is now more clearly understood that women's rights have to be protected and respected, policies have to afford women opportunities for participation and advancement, and the effect of government actions on women have to be taken into account. The new development paradigm thus recognizes that women, every bit as much as men, have to be empowered to participate in the changing world. The challenge of course is to turn the theory into practice, and to move beyond talking about empowering women to ensuring that it actually is done. It would appear that choice and voice are what empowering women is really all about -- giving them a choice in how they live their lives, and a voice in decisions which affect them. In spite of the tremendous changes which have taken place, we still have to accept that many women today are choiceless, and many more have extremely limited choices. Their lives are almost entirely contingent on decisions


made for them by others -- decisions in which they have little voice. In African countries, as in others, there are a range of factors working against women -- legal, social traditional, cultural, and it is very difficult for women to overcome all of the barriers. Changing sociocultural attitudes is probably the most difficult and it takes a long time. This notwithstanding, however, there is a role for public policy and government action in creating an environment in which women have greater voice and choice. Legislation and regulations can negatively affect women to the extent that they deny them equal rights and opportunities. They can also provide the basis and 9 basics on which to build, even though legislation can be ignored an government regulations can be circumvented. Public policy can help create a normative environment which is conducive to women’s voice and choice, and which provides a check on the social values and attitudes which would otherwise deny them. It also redress in cases of abuse. One of the most fundamental means with which public policy can give women a degree of choice and voice is to provide them with legal rights. In most countries in Africa constitutions afford basic human rights and freedoms to women. But constitutions are only good as the legislation which turns their provisions into reality, and in too many instances laws which effectively deny women equal rights, or which undercut their rights and freedoms, remain on d statute books. Although legislation obviously cannot overcome customary laws or cultural mores which prevail in many instances combating the legal restrictions on women is an important first step to protecting them from abuse. Thus addressing legislation which deals with property, inheritance rights, land ownership and tenure, marriage and divorce can go a long way toward empowering women. Of course, cultural values and social mores have to be taken into account, but it should be possible to address those areas which negatively affect women and restrict their ability to define their developmental priorities and act


upon them for the betterment their societies. Legal rights and protection, along with basic health and reproductive health, are at the beginning of empowering women. Beyond these, two things which have an enormous impact are education the ability to earn money. Once women get these, the whole structure - both within the family and within society – changes. This is why literacy programs, and. basic education are so empowering - they facilitate choice by providing women with information and voice by allowing them to articulate their wants and needs The benefits of education have long been known, women are still disadvantaged in terms of education in most African countries. Female enrollment rates are frequently lower than male enrollment rates, even for primary school, and female school dropout rates are higher. As a result, women often lack the basic educational qualifications and skills which are needed for them to obtain employment or to begin businesses of their own. Although governments cannot ensure that girls remain in school, government policies can at least ensure that adequate educational facilities are provided, and that all measures are adopted to help women benefit. In many Asian countries, the multinational companies which have been largely responsible for bringing private investment into the countries tend to primarily employ women, who can move on to other forms of employment once they have learned skills. There is no shortage of labor, yet for the most part only those who have a high school education are employed. No such educated female labor force exists in most African countries. Government policies can also help to create an enabling environment in which women can help themselves. It is almost universally acknowledged that money which women earn goes to improve the quality of life of their families and communities, and vet very little is done to either help them to earn it, or to save it. In many countries,


women cannot obtain credit either because they do not have access to financial institutions, or because such institutions require collateral which they do not have. Ensuring better financial intermediation, particularly in rural areas, would go a long way to helping many women lift themselves out of poverty. The ability of women to make business transactions, obtain credit, and enter into contractual arrangements without the permission of their husbands can help women make choices and then protect those choices. With regard to employment, in African countries, as in a lot of others, there are still many professions from which women are virtually excluded. In part this is because of social attitudes which consider certain professions as unsuitable for women. In part also, it is because women do not have the necessary skills and qualifications. But there is an issue of cause and effect - if women know that it will be difficult to get employment, there is no incentive for them to obtain the skills and qualifications. There is also in African countries, as elsewhere in the world, a tendency for women to be employed in professions and at levels which are already dominated by women. Once women become predominant in certain professions, those professions appear to become devalued by men, and relatively few men enter them by choice. In many African countries also, the informal sector is where most women - through their own efforts - are able to work. However, because it is informal, they are unprotected and largely without rights, and often have to work in extremely difficult physical and psychological environments. The informal sector is obviously outside of government. But governments could at least improve the physical conditions in which market women, for example, work, and ensure them a minimum of security. Also, although governments cannot legislate that women should be employed in certain professions they


can adopt inclusionary and equal opportunity policies and by so doing help to break stereotypes. For example, in very few African countries are women employed in the military or civil security services, except as civilian office workers at low levelThis is not to say that there has not been progress. There is obviously a lot which is being done right in African countries in terms of empowering women. We have to acknowledge the tremendous gains which have been made over the last twenty years or so and build on them. But we also have to be somewhat strategic, and define exactly what we want to achieve in concrete terms and then work out what it will take to get there. This will require clearly identifying what the barriers are, and how they can best be broken down. In some instances it could also be helpful to "unbundled problems -- to take them apart and see their components. For example, why is education not as valued for girls as for boys, or why do more girls drop out of school than boys? Is it because people see education for girls as a waste of time, effort, and money, because they will just grow up, get married and have children and thus "waste" their education? Or is it because girls in many instances do a lot of work in the home, and their labour is required? Our discussions over the next two days will help us to better define the problems, and thus the strategies we need to adopt to overcome them. Promoting dialogue, fostering understanding of the problems, and building consensus on what needs to be done and how it can be done, are all necessary if African women are to be truly empowered. And empowering women and ensuring that they become equal partners in development are essential if opportunities for a better future are to be realised. The international community has a role to play in supporting it, but the process, along with development itself, has to be African-led and African-owned. This meeting provides an opportunity for that process to begin.


Women, Political Participation and Empowerment: An African Women’s Agenda For the Twenty-first Century
by Vivian Lowery Derryck7

Africa stands poised for the new millennium. Vibrant economies and robust democracies dot the continent from Ghana to South Africa. But hovering on the horizon are endemic poverty, refugees, isolation from the globalization of the world’s economy and failure to resolve ongoing intrastate conflicts from Liberia to Sudan. Women can help stave off the negative indicators. The total involvement of women can strengthen the continent in the post-Cold War, post-apartheid, postfeminist new millennium. At the start of the new millennium, the picture of Africa is not encouraging. The promise of the 1960’s has given way to the debt crises of the eighties and sober belt-tightening in the nineties. After major advances in education, health care, life expectancies in the last two decades, recently, many social development indicators have begun to move the wrong way. Life expectancy in Zimbabwe has decreased from 64 years in 1979 to 60 by 1991. 8 The continent is beset by global challenges: ongoing conflicts; 5.4 million refugees, the highest percent of any continent; fragile economies whose weaknesses are exacerbated by endemic corruption; HIV/AIDS; peripheral involvement in the information superhighway and other technologies that guard the entryway into the global economy; egregious human rights violations in some countries; and
7 8

Special Advisor, Africa Leadership Forum. “Zimbabwe’s Leader Scoffs at Critics of Iron Rule,” New York Times. April 27, 1996. P.3.


looming food insecurity. Africans women and men, must tackle these challenges in the context of continental poverty. Poverty is the biggest impediment to development on the continent. Not only is Africa the poorest continent, but it is getting poorer by the year. Moreover, it has the highest population growth rate, 3.2 percent per annum, more than any region in the world. The two combine to result in environmental degradation, especially through deforestation, and growing food insecurity, often leading to famine in conflict situations. Other problems bear mentioning, even though they aren’t the focus of the discussion. Environmental degradation and HIV/AIDS are major impediments to developments, while the genocide in Rwanda and recent massacres in Burundi have underscored the need for greater attention to human rights and human rights education. OAU Secretary-Feneral Salim Salim spoke about three major challenges facing the continent in the near-term: conflict resolution; economic and social transformation; and consolidation of democracy. This paper first puts Africa in political and economic context, then proposes a seven-part agenda to increase African women’s economic and political participation and empowerment. Conflicts The continent is beset by conflicts. Key leaders now commonly acknowledge that conflict resolution is the first priority for the region. Currently six major conflicts roil the continent: Algeria; Burundi; Liberia; Rwanda; Sudan; and Zaire. Nigeria continues to repress major segments of its population with arbitrary detentions, mock trials and disappearances. Somalia and Chad remain essentially failed states.


Worldwide, more than 100 intrastate conflicts have broken out since the end of the Cold War. Unfortunately, the majority of the new conflicts are in Africa. Not only are there more conflicts in Africa than in any other continent, but younger solders are involved. Liberian soldiers as young as 11 have been interviewed. In Sudan, young boys, all but naked, roam from oasis to oasis. Refugees Conflicts are producing refugees; indeed, Africa has the largest refugee population of any region in the world. Refugees represent the extreme human costs of political economic and ecological collapse. According to the definitive UNHCR annual report, State of the World's Refugees: 1993, there were 18 million cross-border refugees worldwide and 24 million internally displaced persons as of December 31, 1992. Approximately 5.4 million refugees roam Africa: 1 million Mozambicans in Malawi; 700,000 Ethiopians in Sudan; 400,000 Somalis in Ethiopia; 300,000 Somalis in Kenya; 200,000 Angolans in Zaire, 100,000 Sudanese in Zaire; 150,000 Burundians in Tanzania; 100,000 Sudanese in Uganda; and 250,000 Rwandans in Burundi. Since 1992, the continent has been convulsed by Rwanda with at least 500,000 refugees still unaccounted for. The number of internally displaced persons has risen to almost 20 million, bringing a new, but yet under-reported group in need to visibility. We should also add 300,000 Liberians in neighboring countries, 300,000 Sierra-Leoneans in Guinea, and 1.25 million Rwandans in Zaire and 700,000 Rwandans in Tanzania to Africa's growing refugee population.


In addition to the human anguish that each of us feel for Africa's nearly six million refugees, refugee crises have severely hampered sustainable development efforts, exacerbating stress on the environment, contributing to food insecurity and to the spread of disease. Weak states and weak economies present a dual challenge to social and economic transformation. Kwame Nknimah said, Seek ye first the political kingdom and all thing, shall be added unto you. Hemade that statement almost a half century ago-when the nation-state was all powerful. Now less able to ensure physical security or guarantee the economic well-being of its citizens, the state is vulnerable to challenges. In all too many countries, the state is failing to fulfill i s fundamental t mandates: ensuring internal security, guarding national frontiers, safeguarding impartial administration of justice. Nevertheless, the state is still the dominant actor in African institutional life. Unfortunately, rather than strengthening the state as the organizer of society, strong and ruthless leaders have weakened the African state and broken its covenant with its citizens. Authoritarian leaders not only suppressed the state, they also created weak national institutions. From the legislature to the judiciary to churches and religious organizations, governments systematically have siphoned talent and thrown up obstacles to the effective, autonomous functioning of key institutions of both government and civil society. In many African countries, the army is the only major institution that still functions. Most militaries are in need of drastic reform and introduction to the concept of civilian control of the military, and gravely in need of human rights education. Bereft of supporting institutions, in many countries citizens have bandied together to form their own local governments and create parallel social institutions that


can exist without the national government. In Zaire, for instance, government in Shaba Province is virtually in the hands of nongovernmental parallel institutions. More and more, states are yielding power to civil society, particularly NGOS. This is an area of enormous potential influence for women and women-focused NGOS. Weak states and weak institutions invariably result in weak economies. Africa is the weakest economic region in the world. With external debt service charges surpassing GDP per person in some countries, Africa is the continent attracting the least foreign investment, with net private capital flows of less than $2 billion annually since 1990. Debates rage as to what would make Africa strong economically. The conservative Heritage Foundation in its 1996 Index of Economic Freedom asserts that economic freedom is the only way to economic growth and participation in the global economy. The essence of the argument is that countries who have great economic freedom are the richer countries. "...economic freedom is a critical factor in the relative wealth of nations.”9 The Index rates 142 countries from around the world. It s view of Africa is rather disheartening:
While some countries like Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique and Swaziland have moved toward increase economic freedom, Africa as a whole remains the most economically unfree, and by far that poorest, continent in the world… of the 16 countries categorized as “repressed, “the majority are in Africa.


1996 Index of Economic Freedom. Bryan T. Johnson and Thomas P. Sheehy, eds, Washington, D.C. Heritage Foundation, p.vii.


The authors conclude, “the main cause of poverty in Africa is a lack of economic freedom, embodied in the policies which African nations have imposed on themselves”10 One may not agree with the ideological thrust of the Heritage Foundation, but one must examine seriously their conclusions. The continent is virtually ignored in international economic discussions. The three largest states of the continent, Nigeria, Sudan and Zaire are unstable. Sudan and Zaire are mired in runaway inflation, declining exports and debt servicing costs per person that exceed GNP per capita. In Nigeria, the second largest economy of the continent, per capita GNP has skidded from $1250 per annum, to $250 per annum in 1995. Consolidation of Democracy Challenges abound for women in countries that are not wrought by civil war and conflict. Since 1990, more than 25 countries have had multi-party elections since Benin began the democratic revolution in 1990. Consolidation of democracy involves safeguarding the independence of judiciaries, fostering a free press, supporting nongovernmental organizations – including political parties – and building civil societies. Consolidation means affirmative action to include all segments of the population, particularly women, in all the institutions of democracy. Women have not had an easy time gaining political acceptability. Democratizing states have rarely encouraged women to contest for the highest political offices, presidencies and prime ministerships. Sylvie Kinigi of Burundi became the first female prime minister of in all of Africa, but her tenure was short lived as she escaped coup plotters’ bullets in Burundi’s failed coup of 1993.

1996 Index of Economic Freedom, pp. x, xi.


Challenges for Africa There are daunting obstacles confronting the continent. Women cannot tackle all of them, so we must prioritize. Conflict resolution, refugee support, post-conflict reconciliation and consolidation of advances in democratic governance are key challenges which, if thoughtfully addressed, could transform the continent. What follows is a womencentered political and sustainable development agenda. 1. Women’s greater involvement in conflict resolution African women did not start the wars that plagues the continent. Women did not produce, purchase or plant the land mines that despoil the continent. Women have neither had access to national resources to siphon off and stash in Swiss accounts, nor are women financial decision-makers. Women’s involvement can occur through several avenues, though two seem urgent. First, through participation in the actual processes of resolution, i.e., cease-fires and negotiations; and second, through women assuming greater and more visible roles in national militaries. Traditionally women have not been players and certainly not decisionmakers at peace accord discussions. But African women have realized that they are the victims of conflict and recently have taken steps to involve themselves in the processes of peace-making and peacekeeping from grass-roots to policy levels. Several NGOs have been formed. The African Peace Tent was a prominent feature of the November 1994 Dakar Preparatory Committee meting for the 4th Beijing Women’s Conference in Beijing, China.


Women’s involvement in conflict resolution is encouraged when visible women join the quest for peace. Graca Machel, former Minister of Education of Mozambique, widow of former Mozambican President Samora Machel, and co-convenor of this conference, heads a special UNICEF Committee to look at the effects of war and related violence on children. African women might also examine a small sidebar in the Chechen conflict and follow the example of the widow of slain Chechen leader, Dzhokhar Dudayev, as she asked for safe passage to Moscow to plead for peace with Russian President Boris Yeltsin to negotiate an end to the Chechen crisis. Shouldn't the wives of leadership in Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi and other African war-tom societies initiate similar meetings before more killing takes place? Efforts to gender-integrate African militaries must become systematic. Women were fighters in the national struggles in Zimbabwe and South Africa, more recently as EPRDF and EPLF fighters in Ethiopia. However, in virtually every country, at the end of armed conflict, women are not included in the armed forces. The most recent example is Mozambique, whose leader-s in conjunction with UN officials, made a conscious decision not to integrate women into the newly formed Frelimo/Renamo armed forces of Mozambique. An integral part of conflict resolution has been the integration, downsizing and demobilization of previously warring armies. As conflicts are resolved and new governments emerge, large armies must be reduced and former combatants merged into smaller, integrated fighting forces. Women need to petition to join armies, taking particular note when armies are restructuring.


Another aspect of the military demands women's close scrutiny - arms purchase. According to the World Bank, 4.8% of African GDP is used for defence-related expenditures. This is compared to 3.6% in South Asia and 1.6% in Latin America; development is advancing more rapidly in both regions. Moreover, $15 billion worth of armaments was shipped to Africa between 1985 and 1989. African military expenditures need to be reduced for the sake of development. The World Bank funds many of the demobilization projects and directly or indirectly provides funds for anus purchases. African women, individually and through their organizations, should write to World Bank President James Wolfensohn, urging that women be included in any military restructuring and downsizing effort, and asking that future loans be conditioned on countries' ratio of development to defense expenditures. 2. Women's involvement in post-conflict reconciliation activities Even after conflicts are resolved, daunting problems of rehabilitation rear up. Social and psychological costs are enormous. Most African wars are civil wars, often meaning neighbour against neighbour. Nowhere can women make a greater difference than in trying to bring together former neighbours. Women's involvement is especially important because we are the widows left behind to rebuild after the exhaustion of war. Moreover, studies have found that women have different ways of approaching conflict and can more easily build bridges to restore confidence. Rwanda provides an opportunity to fully integrate women in reconciliation efforts. With 85,000 accused killers cramped together in crowded jails and a clear need for a dazed population to come to grips with the worst genocide of the past 50 years, reconstruction cannot


effectively take place until Rwandans feel it is safe to return to their homes and there are national acknowledgment and reckoning with the horror of neighbour killing neighbour. The tribunal which will operate from Arusha should provide a rational, orderly process for addressing the tragedy. Given the recent administrative difficulties, the tribunal is now looking for lawyers and trained investigators to work for the court. Women should be aggressively recruited. A similar tribunal is underway in Ethiopia, while in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission seeks a vetting and public disclosure of the misdeeds of the apartheid era. Women must demand their inclusion in all of these efforts at all levels. There is another aspect of post-conflict reconstruction that needs women's voices: land mines. Africa, Asia and Central Europe are the areas primarily affected by this scourge to humankind. They maim and kill, render productive agricultural land unusable. It's estimated that 50, percent of Angolan farmland in heavily fought areas is unusable. Angola has a population of 11 million and an estimated 15 to 20 million mines. At current rates of demining operations, it will take 1,000 years to clear existing mines worldwide. There is no more damning evidence of the state versus the people. Although the weapons have outlived their usefulness, 23 countries still sell the mines. Only eleven governments have outlawed this scourge. African governments should renounce the use and purchase of these heinous weapons. Every woman should unite behind a land mine ban as her issue. join a non-governmental organization working on this issue, or form your own committee-to-ban-land-mines.


3. Women's involvement in the political process To really change the African state, women must become involved in electoral politics. The numbers of women so involved is increasing as evidenced by the well-attended Beijing workshops where hundreds of African female politicians met and dialogued on issues of participation and empowerment. Many women may be inspired to withstand the odds by the example of Zimbabwean parliamentarian Margaret Dongo. In 1995 she was battling to regain her seat after a 1994 Zimbabwean legislative election. She recounted her story earlier this year to a group of parliamentarians assembled in Addis Ababa by the African Leadership Forum to discuss the roles of parliamentarians in emerging democracies. Margaret Dongo was a loyal member of ZANU-PF, even serving on the party's Central Committee. When she saw corruption and unfair practices within the party and was ridiculed for her efforts to promote transparency and accountability within the political grouping, she ran as an independent. When she was declared the loser, she sued in court. After uncovering unassailable evidence of vote fraud and tampering, a judge ruled in her favor. She now serves as the only independent member of parliament in Zimbabwe. To Margaret Dongo, the lesson is clear: Don't be intimidated by male threats or harassment. 11


(In a wide-ranging interview with journalists reported April 27,1996, President Mugabe is quoted as referring to her as 'a disgruntled little girl." ("Zimbabwe's Leader Scoffs at Critics of Iron Rule,' New York Times, April 27,1996, p.3) she refers to herself as a revolutionary warrior and an independent member of Parliament.


Electoral politics is an arena that brings African women together, wherever they may live. In meetings across the globe women have distilled lessons to share: 1) Run for elective office across the board, from local constituency offices up through the chief executive. 2) Take heart from other women running. 3) Share strategies and tactics that work. 4) Know that the quest for political office is an uphill fight being waged by women around the world. Indeed, in the U.S., women hold only 11 percent of the 535 seats in the Congress and the Senate. That translates to 51 women in the 435 seat House of Representatives and nine women in the U.S. Senate. Twenty-one percent of state office holders are women. 4. Strategic alliance-building for effective lobbying and change Women must forge alliances with other women, particularly elected officials, NGOs and women entrepreneurs. Alliances can unite African women all over the world. For instance, African women in the U.S. must urge their American colleagues to lobby Congress so that Africa retains foreign policy visibility. Insist that Africa gets the same foreign policy and foreign assistance consideration as other regions of the world. The U.S. will put 1.3 billion into Bosnia reconstruction efforts over the next year. Granted that Bosnia is a nightmare of ethnic hatred, bitter grudges and implacable foes in the heart of Europe, but it is one country. U.S. aid to all of sub-Saharan Africa is likely to total $619 million for fiscal year 1996. Urge your ambassadors to demarche U.S. Senators and


Congresspersons, requesting that aid to Africa be commensurate to the challenge of reconstruction and rehabilitation in the continent's own war-tom countries. 5. Support the United Nations Virtually all thoughtful world citizens appreciate the UN, but different nations appreciate different aspects of the world body. The U.S. focuses on the Security Council, but African nations focus on the Economic and Social Council and the specialized agencies such as the United Nations Development Program, UNICEF, UNIFEM (the United Nations Fund for Women), and the World Health Organization. The United Nations System-wide Special, Initiative on Africa, a tenyear $25 billion unprecedented commitment to Africa, is fresh evidence of the world body's commitment to Africa. Support for the UN is a case where the Diaspora can work for us. It is in our best interest to see all of the countries we call home support the United Nations as an organization that provides peacekeepers, substantive technical assistance and serves as the human rights watchdog of the world. The second phase of the agenda addresses the social and economic needs of Africa. 6. Economic well-being Perhaps Nkrumah should have said, Seek ye first the economic kingdom, for technological advances have revolutionized financial transactions and turned national economies into global ones. With insufficient infrastructure and short of trained personnel, Africa suffers in global competition for investment dollars. Women suffer more.


"Women's work sustains men's power." This observation from the 1980 Mid-Decade Women's Conference Platform of Action is still true today. The 1995 UN Human Development Report estimated the nonmonetized, invisible contribution of women at $11 trillion a year. 12 Women's labor force participation has risen only 4 percent in 20 years. We comprise less than 7 percent of administrators and managers in developing countries.13 Women must study well, then enter the market economy. This is an optimal time, for Africa, after 15 years of being mired economic stagnation, is on the edge of an upturn. There are enormous opportunities, but outside investment and technical expertise are needed.. There is general acknowledgment that if Africa is to be even a minor player in the new boundariless world economy, the international financial community, led by multilateral banks, international donors and the private sector, must be major players. But the upturn will require African discipline and outside support, including a major role for the private sector, and a national commitment to education, health and sanitation. 7. Demand large investment in the education of girls and boys: There is universal agreement among development professionals that education and training are keys to accelerated economic development, greater agricultural productivity, lower population growth rates and maintenance of political liberalization. Women should support capacity-building through education, training and technology transfer. Studies from the Asian successes indicate that investment in formal education was a key factor in raising their GDPs dramatically. To be a player in the twenty-first century, Africa
12 13

1995 Human Development report, New York: United Nations Development Program. 1995. P. 1995 Human Development Report. P. 4.


must dramatically increase its access to and ability to use computers and other advanced technologies. More important for our women's agenda, recent studies, including investigations by the World Bank, have confirmed that investment in the education of women and girls is the most cost-effective investment to insure development advances. Educate both girls and boys. Girls' education at the expense of schooling for boys simply replaces one problem with another. Young boys between the ages of nine and 15 have become menaces to civilians and threats to society in several African countries. They have been gang-pressed into war, seduced with drugs and dollars. When they are a few years older, they will become thieves -or even murderers. We need to reestablish the role of and respect for mothers as carriers of the cultural creed and values. We have moved through a complex, seven-step agenda: 1) active involvement in conflict resolution; 2) active involvement in reconciliation initiatives, including efforts to increase the numbers of women in national militaries and to ban land mines; 3) a strong embrace of the political process; 4) building of strategic alliances that can unite women across ethnicity and socioeconomic classes; 5) sustained support of the United Nations at current levels of funding; 6) robust economic activity in the market economy; and



heightened demand for greater national investment in education.

If we can manage conflict, reduce and humanize armies reconcile neighbors and ban land mines, we will find the wherewithal to focus on education and economic development. This is an ambitious agenda. We have three days to reflect on it and other ideas, and then focus a program of action. Success would change the governance policies of some countries, as well as improve the overall public perception of Africa. Success would mean a new paradigm: every woman in support of the state.




Limitations Faced By Women in Their Guest for Political Participation and Ascendancy
by Janat B. Mukwaya 14 Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour and privilege for me on behalf of the vice-president of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe to deliver a paper on the limitations faced by women in the quest for political participation and ascendancy and to proffer solutions on how to overcome these limitations. I would Eke to thank the organisers not only for organizing such an important conference on African women's leadership which is very important for addressing women's position in politics but also for the warm reception we have had since we arrived in this beautiful country. Ladies and gentlemen, equality in political participation is one of the major priorities for the advancement of women throughout the 1990s and into the 21' century. Political participation provides the opportunity for articulating, promoting and defending interests of the various groupings especially the marginalised, like women, children and people with disability. Lack of it means denial of opportunities and platforms to articulate and defend those interests at the highest echelons of governance. The exclusion of women from political life has the danger of not fully and efficiently utilising that vital human resource.


Minister of Gender and Community Development Uganda.


The political challenges that Africa has faced over the past three decades when politics was and still is male-dominated are all well known to us. Political unrest, civil strife, ethnic wars that have resulted into horrendous massacres, persistent drought and famine and many others are among the many challenges that continue to plague Africa today. However, when one critically examines the effects of these challenges on human kind, one realises that it is the women and children who suffer most from effects of homelessness in the case of war, malnutrition in the case of famine and heavier burdens of meeting household consumption needs in terms of fuel, water and food. Suffice it to say that women should not be party to those political decisions to engage in war but they should actively be involved in negotiating for peaceful means of conflict resolution. Such negotiations require political economic and social awareness of the women for them to materialize. It is on the basis of such knowledge that their voices shall be heard. Women should be actively engaged in research and updating themselves with current affairs all over the world by making use of the available media. This is why the literacy of women and education of the girl child must be emphasized across our mother continent. Africa is tired of wars. Let women hold the mantle for peace by actively participating in those vital political decisions that affect many African countries. In Africa, the number of women in politics is low compared to that of men despite the fact that women constitute more than 50% of the total population. Low levels of literacy among women and negative cultural practices are among some of the factors that have militated against the


participation of women in the political arena. Africa being a patriarchal society, political leadership has for a long time been maledominated; a factor that may be attributed to the social system and structures that govern societies at the household, kinship and community levels. This social system has been relegating women at the periphery of corridors of power and putting men at the centre stage. Kingship, chieftaincy, clan headship and household headship have traditionally been a male-domain in most parts of Africa. With recent developments, however, a number of women have been involved at the forefront of revolutions; and this is possibly why most revolutionary governments in Africa have women playing crucial roles in political leadership. Why fewer women in politics? As pointed out above, the low education level of women compared to men is one of the most crucial factors limiting women's participation in politics in Africa. On average, the female illiteracy rate in Africa is over 60% compared to 40% for males. In 1991, Participation of females in higher education in Africa accounted for 31%. This situation is a serious obstacle to the real integration of women into the political systems. As we all kn6w, knowledge is an empowering factor in one's quest for political ascendancy. Education is therefore an important factor in empowering women in politics. Supplementary to this, increased political, economic and social awareness is a necessary impetus for their advancement in this area. The traditional/cultural stereotyped perceptions that politics is a maledomain is another major constraints Women are considered home makers. When they venture into politics, they are harassed by everyone for venturing into an arena not meant for women. In Uganda, for example, during the 1996 campaigns for parliamentary seats, some


women candidates were labeled prostitute to intimidate them and to discourage them from seeking elective seats. Other women had to indicate who they were married to in order to prove that they were "suitable" candidates. It is interesting, to underline here that in some instances, women were seen to be reluctant to vote fellow women who contested against men possibly due to the stereotypes that women were not able to perform better in leadership than their male counterparts. This poses a greater challenge for confidence-building amongst the women in order to acknowledge and make use of their potentials. The domestication of women and the heavy workload confines women to the private sphere yet politics is in the public sphere. The heavy workload of women takes up their time and often leaving them no time to participate in politics. The woman politician has to learn to balance her time between politics and her traditional gender roles of social reproduction and housekeeping. In addition, some female politicians lack the needed support from husbands/partners spouses. Some female politicians have had to choose between their political careers and their marriages. It is also evident that some abuse the freedom and support extended by their spouses by being wholly taken up into political. issues and completely neglecting their matrimonial obligation. This has caused dissatisfaction on the part of their spouses and often led to poor domestic relations. As a result, some abandon their political ambitions to save their marriages, while others choose their political careers, at the expense of their families. Leadership skills and confidence building are also still lacking, and therefore, an inhibition to female participation. The majority of African women do not feel confident enough to take up political roles. Further still, there is a general. feeling of apathy and lack of motivation towards politics among many women; especially considering the


unstable nature of governance that has been characteristic of most African nations. The frequent change in leadership and the resultant effects of such charges have created an element of fear and insecurity among most women - who may seek stable and secure environments. Women also lack the finances which are much needed during campaigns. Lack of finances often make women dependent on men/husbands for support. This limits their participation in politics since they can be easily manipulated by the person who controls the purse. This is especially so considering that elections in the world over usually influenced by the "money factor" more so at the lower levels due to poverty. Dividing up the family income to meet one's political ambitions is a challenge that many of us face in our quest for political ascendancy. Achieving this as an individual needs money while the required income for household consumption might be little thus creating a need for a firm capital base if one is to be successful.


Women and Political Participation in Africa: The Limitations of the Immediate Environment
by Jeredine Williams Sarho15 I bring you greetings from the courageous women of Sierra Leone, who despite the devastation of a 5-vear civil war still have enough strength left in them to hope and trust that our new democracy will bring us social justice; and partnership with our men will enhance the goal and spirit of equity on all levels of national activity. Permit me, Madam Chairperson, to express my appreciation to the distinguished Chairman and Executive Members of the Africa Leadership Forum for giving me the honour to join this honourable body in deliberations for a workable 21st Century Agenda for African Women's empowerment. This initiative is extremely comforting, and would consolidate the milestones of Declarations and Action Plans accomplished in Mexico, Copenhagen, Nairobi, Vienna, Dakar, Cairo and the new Bill of Rights earned in Beijing. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that gender issues are recognized as human rights issues, and there seems to be an increasing consensus on partnership with men as a guaranteed channel of achieving equity of participation. I have no doubt that we shall mutually benefit from the deliberations and interactions to merit us a practicable 21st century agenda, so as to strategize sustainable programmes to meet as equitably as possible, not only the needs of our current generation but those of posterity, in order to remove the obstacles to achieving equity, development, and peace in our continent. Women and men should and must sit side by side in decision-making without making their biological make-up a condition

Leader, Coalition for Progress Party, Sierra Leone.


or pre-requisite for participation. Political participation provides the opportunity for articulating, promoting and defending interests. Lack of it is a denial of inalienable rights and freedoms, a denial of platforms to articulate and defend interests affecting the very existence of women. I have the honour to share with this assembly concepts on women's participation, their limitations, my vision, and my experiences, and those of other women on 'Women and Political Participation in Africa, paying due regard to the limitations of the immediate environment”. Conceptual Framework First, we must agree on a definition of political participation, which in a broad sense includes the involvement of individuals and groups in policy-making; their participation in decisions which affect them directly, making bureaucracy and legislation responsive to their needs and rights, with a view to improving the quality of policy. Political participation may thus be defined as the effective involvement in the formulation and implementation of public policy at all levels of society - community, local, national or international. Public policy constitutes decisions on ideals or goals for what is good for the populace and a plan of action for achieving these goals. Every individual has a fundamental right to participate in the making and implementation of such decisions, directly or through people genuinely elected. It is proven that where political situations do not allow for such involvement protests and other forms of resistance or agitation for greater roles would constitute political participation. So the traditional restrictive application of political participation to the exercise of voting Tights by women is insufficient, and does not fulfill their involvement in public affairs of their countries.


Women constitute over 50% of the continent's population and provide over 60% of the agricultural work force on our farms. At the same time, they are saddled with bearing children, nurturing them and managing the home. They are the first educators of our children and the acclaimed natural defenders of children's Tights. These women are involved in all these activities and responsibilities, but are denied the tight in majority of cases, sometimes in the face of articulated legislation, to mal<e decisions on all these matters that so critically touch their lives. A culture of ages and tradition to protect the dominance of our forefathers have only engineered an historical divide in power sharing between African men and women, and rendered the majority of women anonymous and virtually void of human freedom, guaranteed human rights and personal self-esteem. This phenomenon has clearly hindered effective involvement in public affairs roles as the women lack the necessary educational and motivational preparedness which has fundamentally undermined the process of development growth and women's input in political stability. It must be recognised that empowerment of women is a human rights issue and a human resource development issue, and cuts across a variety of interrelated areas which should and must be targets of fundamental reforms. It is, thus, counter-productive to I<eep women marginalised by depriving them of the enabling environment crucially necessary for participation in the process allied to accessing social, economic and political structures. Consensual opinion and international law tells us that political participation is a fundamental right of every woman. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by over 25 African countries guarantees every citizen a right to participate in public affairs, vote or be voted in to office, and have access generally to public services within his or her country. Many African constitutions do not deny women this right but, to a great measure, the


enabling environment is absent. The right of every woman to participate in the affairs of her country is further reaffirmed by the African Charter on Human and People' Rights, ratified by over 49 African states, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ratified by over 35 states. Article 7 of the Convention guarantees women on equal terms with men, the right: ?? vote in all elections and public referenda and to be eligible for to elections to all publicly elected bodies; ?? participate in the formulation of government policy and the to implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government; ?? participate in Non-Governmental Organisations and' associations to concerned with the public and political life of the country. It is paramount that for the liberation of millions of African women, women must vie for political ascendancy not only in the executive, legislature and judiciary, but also in other prominent arms of the public service where they can successfully advocate a initiate policies for equitable access for other women, not only because they are women, but just because it is their entrench constitutional rights to enjoy equity on all levels. Secondly it mal enormous economic sense to employ all the human resource that be mobilised in a nation, so that the volume of human capital nee in developmental growth will be easily accessible. Furthermore equitable access to social, economic and political structures reduces, and to a large extent, diminishes the threat of conflict.


It is timely to remind the male-dominated governments of Africa that the balance of payments of their national economies w@ improve considerably, if the women who constitute the majority c their population can have full access to social economic and political justice. If such access is guaranteed, it will soon be discovered that the social indices reflected in the UNDP global annual human development index, which rank some of us at the bottom of the index, can be transformed to successful stories if women are granted of participation. Permit me to observe that with the various international human rights instruments, the spate of international conferences demanding cessation of violence against women, mandating education for girl child, reaffirming the rights of women to decision-mal positions, more and more women are coming forward on national front to fight for women's rights, contesting for election, parliament and even the presidency, contesting seats in the government, lobbying through their various movements for posts parastatals and other bodies in the public service, and they breaking new ground. However, statistics show that we are still way behind the target of 30% women in parliament by 1995, set by the U.N. Economic and Social Council. In 1992, for instance, countries where women had more than 10% representation in parliament included Algeria, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. In countries with relatively higher percentage of representation it was mostly on account of presidential nominations rather than fought-out elections. On the ministerial level, a handful of women have held portfolios in non'-social affairs ministries such as, in 1994, Uganda's Vice President and Gender Minister, Liberian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Burundi's Prime Minister, Ghana's Minister of Trade and Industry, and Botswana's Minister of Foreign Affairs. More recently, we have had a woman appointee as Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation


Minister in Sierra Leone and a Woman Interim President in war-tom Liberia. On the administrative level, according to a 1994 UNDP report, the percentage of female administrators and managers for 1980 -89 was 13% for sub-Saharan Africa. Senegal tops the list with 44% female administrators and managers; Botswana 36%; South Africa 17%; The Gambia and Zimbabwe 15%; Egypt 14%; Seychelles 12%; Zambia 11%; Sao Tome and Principe 9%; Ghana 9%; Togo 8%; and Cameroon 6%. Such statistics mirror the dire constraints and limitations in the way of women in accessing political participatory roles. Limitations: The limitations that face African women in political participation are deep-rooted and many inherited cultural and traditional constraints subordinate us and exclude us from the decision-making process. Among the constraints are: 1) The traditional lack of access and control over resources and benefits including education and property. 2) The myth and tradition that certain jobs such as decision-making are not for women. Women are supposed to follow rather than lead. 3) Where there is institutionalization of equality, in some cases, men only pay hp-service to power sharing. 4) Conflict situations.


5) Religious and customary beliefs. As a result of these traditional barriers, few women rather end up seeking political office than they should. From my personal experience, as a former Presidential Candidate in Sierra Leone, and the experience of other women who have entered the political arena with or without success, here are the common problems we are faced with: ?? Political parties rarely support women candidates ?? Women have difficulty of obtaining campaign funding ?? women have political campaign skills Few ?? Women do not vote for women ?? Women cannot cope with violence ?? Negative media I have suggested in my recommendations in this presentation how these barriers can be managed, but I would like to share with you an excerpt from the text of a statement by the President of the World Bank, Mr. James Wolfensohn, which I believe carries a realistic message on women's empowerment. I quote:
It will require not just the liberation of women, but also the liberation of men - in their thinking, attitudes, and willingness to take a fairer share of the responsibilities and workloads that women carry on their shoulders. To bring about real improvement in the quality of women's lives, men must change. And action must begin at home, For each of us, change lies in the kind of household we live in, the society we help to build, and the institutions we work for.


Recommendation and Visions In the light of these challenges emanating from stark inequities facing women to access social economic and political power, I would urge the assembly to examine the following recommendations which will be useful to Gender Sensitive Lobby Groups organising action for removing obstacles to gender inequities: 1) Consolidate action plans to remove traditional gender-based subordination which limit women's access to and control over productive resources such as land and labour. 2) Ensure adequate funding, to guarantee enforcement of relevant provisions of constitutions and where there are no such provisions, ensure that the constitutions are gender sensitive. 3) Promote the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of discrimination Against Women. 4) Institute continuous dialogue not only with different arms of government including the chieftaincy institutions and political leaders but 'gender dialogue' to sensitise men must be promoted from primary, school upwards to place greater emphasis on the human capabilities other than the sex and custom of the individual. 5) Advocate for decentralization of political authority where it does not exist and intensify action for women's participation. 6) Intensify the lobby on affirmative action in the distribution of parliamentary seats and council seats in local government so that women can participate and influence decisions which affect their daily lives.


7) Action to reduce the gender gap and increase women's capacity should include encouraging and supporting girls to join traditional male-dominated fields. 8) Organise civil education campaigns on the importance of women's participation on all levels of government, and why women must use their vote to guarantee victory to women candidates who are sensitive to the many needs of women, such as. improved education, sanitation, health care, employment for their husbands, illiteracy rate of women, etc. 9) Advocate for compulsory education for girls and injecting a peace curriculum at all levels of schooling. 10) Organizes workshops to train women in political skills on the national, regional and global level. 11) Support capacity building of NGOs and non-traditional projects for women. 12) Encourage and support business women in accessing credit, pursuing joint-ventures with overseas investors, particularly in the manufacturing sector and in this regard support women's investments groups either through the Chamber of Commerce or on their own. Facilitate exchange visits with overseas chambers of commerce with the help of the Gender Ministry and or Trade and Industry Ministry, where possible. 13) Meet regularly with the gender minister so she remains on the same wave length with the Women Lobby Groups and vice versa. 14) Meet other democratic challenges besides women's issues, brokering compromises and settling deadlocks.


15) Network and build solidarity with parallel women's lobby groups in the African region, and outside to improve their skills and mutually benefit from each other in building equity milestones for themselves. 16) Inspire women to build equitable and respectful relationship with each other and support each other. This forum is a handy channel to facilitate many of these visions, and we the participants must use the opportunity effectively to progress our cause on behalf of millions of other women so that the 21st century will constitute a legacy and an inheritance of our preparatory work in the 19th century. I would at this point like to salute the Women's Lobby Groups which have demonstrated great leadership in difficult transitions, and effected noticeable change in their countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia and Sierra Leone. Discussions on the lessons learned, I am sure, will follow during the debate. Madam Chairperson, I look forward to the vibrant discussions that this topic will capture, and truly believe that our final recommendation will make their mark on the 21st century agenda for African women's empowerment.


Participation of Women in Public Life
by Mrs. Elizabeth Akpalu 16 My presentation will be based on research findings conducted in Ghana in 1995 under the auspices of the ODA – funded project; Women in Public Life with the main objective of enhancing and increasing the participation of women in public life. The research investigated women’s participation in a wide range of public and political organizations. Highlights of the research findings of women in public and civil services conducted by Dr. Amina Mama of Nigeria and Ms. Dodzi Tsikata of ISSER, Ghana, indicated that Ghana is not substantially different from most other countries in the world when it comes to the overall number of women at the top of the political ladder or occupying leadership positions. Of the 20 ministries, only 3 are headed by women Ministers, and of these two were appointed and one was in Parliament. There are 6 women Deputy Ministers out of 30 and none of the 15 Chief Directors are women. Out of a total of 153 Civil Service Directors, 16 are women. Gender analysis of the senior ranks of the civil and public services organizations show similar disproportions. The executive and clerical grades too are male-dominated, mostly made up of male school leavers who enter the services as junior clerical and executive staff, and work their way upwards.

Project Manager, Women in Public Life, Ghana.


The secretarial class is almost exclusively female. The female school leaver is likely to start her civil service career as a receptionist or junior typist progressing into stenography and secretarial work, but seldom (no one in the study) transferring into the administrative class. Dr. Amina Mama’s which covered 76 women and 20 men drew conclusions which could throw more light on the problems confronting African women in attaining and occupying leadership positions. Senior Women In her findings she state that women at the top- Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Directors share a constellation of background factors which suggest that whereas men may be able to rise through the ranks by dint of a combination of diligence and brilliance, women may only reach the top when these attributes are combined with the class and familial advantages that many describe as ‘good background’. ?? Good schools ?? Elite background ?? accomplised in their own fields Middle Level Women Women in the middle levels of the public and civil services have worked often in a steady and committed manner most of their adult lives. Their experience outweighs their qualifications, but it is often the lack of qualification and training which is given as the reason for their lack of progressing further up the hierarchy.


The study indicated that there are gender dynamics inside the organisations. The question is, are there features of Ghanaian women’s lives which prevent more of them attaining senior and top leadership positions? Or are there undiscerned factors and dynamics within and around these organizations which make it difficult for women to advance in their careers? Dr. Amina Mama made mention of what she termed the Familial ideology at work which she stated accounts for workplace relationships where senior women are cast in material roles by subordinates. Being a mother in the workplace is something of a double-edged sword. Maternalising a female boss may not be disrespectful but it is hardly a formal relationship, and core of kindly, nurturing instincts that is assumed to he beneath a woman's professionalism. Younger women are cast as daughters - apart from incipient sexual undertones there is also unsolicited paternalism. There is also the tendency for women to be regarded as wive's in the workplace. For instance in a committee she is immediately cast in a role of a secretary or expected to do the organizational housework of taking minutes and making tea. The onus is on individual women to correct this practice. The familialising of workplace relations can also be advantageous, can be conducive to team work and platonic friendliness. Sexuality at work is another gendered form. In her study, sexual harassment was found to be more prevalent in the middle and junior grades. Gender Dynamics in Training and Promotions The study observed that the processes are not always transparent and information is not always either available or in circulation. Women are, always insufficiently informed as to the possibilities for training.


Lobbying and Networking The study also indicated that, informal factors have an influence on career progress. These informal factors are highly gendered, most often through the cultural vector of "social acceptability". Simply put in Ghana, men go out to drink, eat pepper soup after working hours and women do not. Men can therefore get to know who is who and gain access to information about the organization climate, what jobs are coming up, who is likely to be doing what, and who is pleased or displeased with who and why. This social constraints on interaction applies to single as well as married women in the study. Women do not feel comfortable lobbying senior men because of possible implications. Ms. Dzodzi Tsikata carried out primary research which targeted members of parliament and political parties. In addition she interviewed selected independent and retired politicians, members of the three main political parties and opposition parties such as the New Patriotic Party, the People Convention Party and the People National Convention. In all 66 party officials and leading members 42 female and 21 male, 16 members of Parliament (11 female and 5 male). Ms Tsikata's research focused on political parties since they are crucial for shaping the political will of the people and for putting up candidates for election to public office among other things. The Challenges facing Women 1. The challenges of gender inequality in society at large In Ghana as in many other countries, women’s life chances are hampered by inequalities in gender relations. Although not all women are uniformly affected by this situation, only a minority of women are


able to break into male dominated professions and activities. The absence of women from political structures is serious because they represent the most important sites of decision making in society. The inequality between men and women in the sharing of power, family responsibilities and decision making at all levels; is one the twelve critical areas of concern adopted in the Platform for Action at Beijing. The power relations that impede women's attainment of fulfilling lives operate at many levels of society from the most personal to the highly public sphere. Three areas of gender relations in society are worth mentioning ?? sexual division of labour and its implications for women's time the and nature of their contribution to the creation of wealth. ?? differences in access to, ownership and control of resources such as land and its implication for women's wealth. ?? gender ideology which supports these processes by promoting the a notion that women are inferior to men and therefore could never aspire to equality with men. 2. The History

Ms Tsikata indicated in her research that it is important to study the history of women's participation in politics. The history is important because it is an indication of how difficult it has been for women to penetrate power structures and also make difference to women's lives by knowing the problem and therefore serve as a guide to what women who aspire to membership of those structures can expect. Women in the first republic as individuals did striking things but without much power. Concern for absence of women in power structures prompted


the Nkrumah regime to reserve 10 seats in Parliament for women. From 1981-1992, 3 political women's organization emerged but only one of them survived, The 31st December Women's Movement. Their efforts did not improve the absence of women in political structures although they raised women's participation as a concern. Only a few women were appointed to the Assemblies and even fewer were elected. Between 1988 and 1994 there were 486 women in the district Assemblies out of a total 6448 (8% of membership). Of these, only 31% were elected. The fourth republic saw 16 women in parliament out of 200 seats (8%) three female ministers (9%) and five deputy ministers (11%). The council of state 4 female members out of a total of 24 (17%). Not much has changed since independence. In 1980 there was one female minister out of 26 Ministers (4%) in 198,9 there was one out of 29 (3) and in 1990 there was 0 out of 29 ministers. In the council of state in 1980 there was 1 woman out of 15 members (7%). There was no parliament between 1982-1992. In the first republic there were 10 women in the Assembly in 1960 and 19 in 1965, all members of the CPP. In the second republic, there was only I woman in Parliament. In the third republic, there were 5 women in Parliament, 4 PNP and 1 ACP. The record of political parties in putting up female candidates for elections have been crucial in how these figures came to be generated. In 1969, the PP fielded 1 female out of a total of 138, 2 women stood as Independents; NAL had 4, UNC has 1 and AORP had 1. In the third Republic there were 20 women candidates 6 from PNP, 3 from the ACP, PFP1 UNC3, Third Force Party 3; Social democratic Front 4.


3. Profile of Women in Politics in the 4th Republic The Challenges of Education and Life Cycle Situation: As documented by Dr. Amina Mama in her study of public institutions the few women in the executive have some similarities in educational background and age, between late 40s and early 50s. They comprise mostly women with grown up children, widows, single/divorced or married to politician husbands. Class background varied. Majority of parents are from the peasantry, a few working class and a small minority middle class. Low educational attainments, coupled with reluctance of husbands to allow wives to do politics were some of the characteristics. 4. Nature of Initial Involvement From the study, Ms. Tsilkata observed that most members of the executive had no history of activism. Among the MPs, initial involvements ranged from District Assembly, The 31st December Women's Movement to the 4th Republic. Only a minority spoke of activist work in the second and third republics. Initial involvement in traditional office, community activism and trade unionism; leadership roles m schools and in various social institutions. the study found a significant number of MPs describing their involvement in parliament as accidental and therefore the women tended to be outsiders. 5. The Political institutions and Women Political Party structure is male dominated. The issue of women's wings and the rationale to organize women for the party. Although some approve of the wings, a few felt that they tended to marginalise women and their concerns. Some noted that "they are a dead end, our women get stuck there and they cannot join the mainstream of the


party" observed one respondent. Ms. Tsikata observed that the majority of female MPs are not active in the women's wings. The issue of the pragmatic posture taken by many parties in relation to women's participation was also analyzed. Some party officials are of the opinion that the electorate would not vote for women, women do not want to present themselves as candidates. It is the view of most political parties that the results of the elections are not based on gender but on popularity. There are the others who think women have stood against men and had won because the electorate finds them more trustworthy than it does male politicians. She also observed that ethnic compromises are more the norm than gender compromises. Political parties are eager to reach out to particular ethnic groups by appointing MPS from those groups. The issue is how to ... a political process which gives higher consideration to gender. On the issue of participation in party activities women like to do the nitty - gritty ground work, but when it comes to speaking on party platforms, women feel shy mainly due to lack of confidence, knowledge of issues and educational limitations. The workshops held for the prospective women parliamentarians addressed some of these issues. 6. Other challenges as perceived by women in politics include: ?? Economic Obstacles ?? Financial problems ?? Canvassers and volunteers do not stick without money ?? Expectations from those who help you win are often enormous for women ?? Women have additional problem of financiers sometimes expecting sexual favours.


?? Gendered abuse from opponents. ?? Most often women are accused as being loose, prostitute and have no business to be in politics. Men in the study, mentioned that they had been accused by opponents as being corrupt etc. The challenges for women has been to putting the negative images of women to positive use. ?? Intimidation, physical violence and the threat of it ?? Fear of maltreatment in case of violence overthrow of government ?? Religion/Culture ?? Both men and women have been socialized to believe that the woman I s primary role is to be a wife and mother and not a political activist or leader in the community. A respondent stated "Islam does not support the idea of men mingling with women". ?? Male party colleagues ?? It is not easy to work with male politicians. They decide on issues before informing you sometimes. The never select women to represent region at national meetings of the party. They want to keep women away from the money and they do not want you to see everything. 7. Views about gender issues Gender inequality, poverty, marital problems etc. were mentioned by the respondents, a significant number put the blame on women themselves. Sometimes as a factor or in some cases as the problem.


Women are their own enemies". This is interpreted to mean that women are low achievers and do not want to strive hard, The main challenge is how to get women to vote for women as a strategic issue. 8. Views about qualities of a good politician - advice to women who want to cater politics: The qualities that were enumerated are as follows: ?? Courage ?? Modesty ?? Respectable/moral uprightness ?? Sympathetic. ?? Selflessness - service oriented ?? Education ?? Knowledge of current affairs ?? Initiative ?? Leadership ?? Resourcefulness/financially sound ?? Self reliant


?? Ability to cope with insults ?? Closeness to members of constituency and responsiveness to their needs. ?? Respect for people ?? Good speaker Good educational background was the one requirement most mentioned. Some male party officials have either no or very little education. Education may be important, but should not be used to disempower women aspirants. Onclusions /Recommendations There is now a global consensus that women should play a more active, more direct and more visible role in decision making, particularly in politics. The desire was included in the final Platform For Action in the Beijing document which had the objective of bringing about the necessary change in society and at the same time contribute to the transformation of politics itself. A Global network of women in politics was established with the holding of the first Congress of Women in Politics during the NGO Forum on Women in Beijing in September 6, 1995. The Congress discussed the Regional Women in Politics Platform for Action, the mechanism and structures needed to implement the Global Platform for Action. The Africa Regional Congress of Women in Politics held a two day Congress in Beijing September 3-4 1995 and discussed global governance and the challenges facing women and issues of political empowerment among others.


All international Conferences up to Beijing point to the fact that education is important for empowerment to take place. In Ghana and in most African countries, there is a gender gap in education - in Ghana out of 6 million adults without formal education 63 percent of them are women. Similarly, although 48% of registered voters in 1992 were female only 16 women were elected into parliament out of 200. The empowerment of women in politics is stagnant. 'Gender myths form the basis for most discrimination against women. These beliefs legitimize male domination and perpetuate the subordinate status of women. Some of myths are: ?? Patriarchal theology which denotes that male supremacy is ordained by God ?? Patriarchal misogyny which indicates that women are morally inferior and the cause of men's ills and ill doings. ?? Patriarchal Tradition/culture says that men are physically and mentally superior to women and should therefore control political power. ?? Patriarchal language refers to the use of the "generic" man to represent all human beings. ?? Patriarchal democracy claim that men take care of women's interest whilst they control power and that there is therefore no ender discrimination, serves as basis for patriarchal democracy. Patriarchal politics entails the belief that men as the ordained head of the households should naturally be responsible for public leadership. Women therefore need their permission to play any role in public life.


It is necessary to isolate these myths and debunk them. This requires self evaluation or as Prof. Dumor of the Electoral Commission aptly put it "Psychic mobility" must take place in women's minds for empowerment to be possible. There should be a change in women's perception of themselves as inferior in order to get society to change their views on women. To improve women's participation in politics an immediate first step will be to tackle the structure of the political party itself and to institute positive action or affirmative action. The objective of positive action or affirmation action is to encourage the exercise of rights to equal treatment and opportunity in all spheres of life. It is designed with the intention of eliminating discrimination and promoting equality. Having more women in politics and decision making positions in government and legislative bodies contribute to redefining political priorities placing new items on the political agenda that reflect and address women's gender specific concerns, value and experience and providing new perspective on mainstream political issues. The following specific actions need to be taken by both political parties, government institutions and NGC)s to assist women in politics and public life, Adequate Resources to: ?? Support leadership training; ??Creating a fund to support women in politics; ??Organizing workshops on political campaigning and financing ??Training in public speaking;


??Continuing civic education to improve political opportunities of women, especially in the rural areas and; ??most importantly established networks at local regional and continental levels to serve as a data bank on women with relevant skills as the basis for networking which must involve men as partners in development.


The Electoral Process and Women Parliamentarians: Identifying the Obstacles – The Congolese Experience
by Martine Renee Galloy17 My presentation will be based on my observations during several election monitoring missions in Africa: the 1992 legislative elections in Congo, the August-September 1993 Central African Republic general elections, the 1995 legislative election in Benin and Ivory Coast, etc, etc.; although women constitute the bulk of voters in all African countries (and elsewhere), their number amount to almost nothing as candidates, let alone as elected political leaders. Many studies carried out on women’s participation in elections or on their representation in elected positions corroborate this observation (Buijtenhuijs, Thiriot: 1995). The latest Ghanaian elections showcase and support this observation for, only 57 candidates out of 786 were women. Of those, only 13 were elected. Why are there so few women candidates in electoral competitions? Why do women score so low when 52% of voters in almost all countries are women? To understand and address this issue requires first, an analysis of the nature of the democratic transition and the impact of democratization on gender relations in politics as well as the electoral process in Congo since the beginning of the democratization process. This exploration will help to analyse obstacles to women’s eligibility.


President, GERDDES-Congo


Democratization and Gender Roles The late 1980s have been a landmark in the history of Africa which manifested in several tremendous institutional changes. Congo was not spared by this wind. of change and witnessed the end of the oneparty system in 1990 and its replacement by multipartism. A National Conference was held from February to June 1991 which laid the foundations of the democratic system. A transitional government and democratic institutions were set up. Local, legislative and presidential elections were organised a year later, in 1992. Two months after the President was sworn in, a difference over power sharing between the opposition and the ruling led to the vote of no confidence in the National Assembly, consequent dissolution of the government, and the organisastion of legislative elections. Unfortunately, a dispute over the elections results brought the country to a civil conflict and political instability between 19931994. Although a peace agreement was signed in late January 1994, and strengthened with other agreements on the dissolution of private political militias and thugs and the collection of weapons and rehabilitation of militiamen. The tattered socioeconomic canvas is hard to mend and the erected psychological barriers need to be disrupted as they will likely affect the coming elections. Evaluating the nature of the democratic transition in Congo reveals a transmutation of the one-party system and its decentralization with the foundation of numerous tribe-parties styled after the former system, where men indulge in internecine hegemonic "wars" for power. What then are the outcomes of transition and the impact of democratization on gender relations? The first observation is that the phallocratic pattern of the Stalinian system, whereby women were confined into a "department for women's affairs or social affairs", as a continuum of the one-party's


women's branches" has been preserved. Secondly, women constitute the bulk of the civil society which is not well-organised and not yet very conscious of its weight as a political force, a situation which further makes them vulnerable. Consequently, women are poorly represented in elected positions and in decision making position s (2 members of parliament out of 125 are women, 2 scouters out of 60 women, 15 out of 426 regional councilors are women, etc). Women's representation at decision-making levels is unacceptably negligible. This political background clearly highlights the roots of women's low political representation. A tentative identification of the obstacles to women's participation to electoral competition shows that they are socio-cultural economic and political. Electoral Processes and Women Parliamentarians: Highlighting the Obstacles Socio-Cultural Obstacles a) The Candidate Herself: As a result of sexist education, women's self-perception and perception of other women is often negative and inhibiting. Party women often turn down proposals to contest elective positions. b) The Family and the Community: The family and community environment is often hostile and tries to discourage women from seeking elective positions. Hopefully, this reluctance generally collapses with time and the candidate's


determination. Some women politicians 'interviewed were blessed with very understanding husbands who were quite supportive and helpful. After all, they too take pride in their wives' success. But these are exceptions rather than the rule. c) Political Illiteracy: Because of ignorance, women also tend to lack solidarity to such extent that many women voters are still reluctant to choose women candidates when they are not behind their exclusion. The best illustration is the election for Prime Minister at the end of the National Conference in Congo where the only woman candidate gathered 2 votes when 60 participants were women. But is woman-hood enough to give candidates the monopoly on women's votes? Economic Obstacles Fund-raising for the campaign is a critical issue for candidates. Many male candidates will resort to a loan from the bank to finance their campaign, but women tend to concentrate too much on the risks first before committing themselves. Now, one of the main features of this stage of the democratization process in Africa is the institutionalization of corruption and vote buying. Ours is still an elementary democracy" and in the merciless struggle for power, political darwinism is the rule and only the "fittest" can win. The fittest here being the candidates who can canvas for votes in their constituency, offer T-shirts with their logo, and shower all sorts of gifts on voters. However, according to their political affiliation, women's lot differs. Thus, a woman candidate representing the ruling party is usually better equipped than an opposition candidate. The independent candidate is obviously the one who suffers most from this financial inequality.


Political Obstacles a) The Government Most governments' refusal to setup an independent and permanent electoral commission that can minimize elections rigging affects all candidates, irrespective of gender. In addition, they have failed to promote and implement all the national and international laws favourable to women and despite campaign promises, not much has been done to boost women's participation to decision-making. b) Party Politics Parties gender-proof politics, discriminatory distribution of roles and responsibilities between men and women account for women's invisibility. Women candidates are often sent in constituencies where they are not likely to win. Besides, even in constituencies where women have a comfortable position, they always risk being discarded for a male candidate. 18 According to a UN statement, women are not fielded as candidates as a result of their poor representation in party leadership. In fact, women as a group became involved in Congolese politics much later than men and they seem to contend themselves with background roles instead of being assertive, aggressive, which would have conferred on them more visibility and make them genuine partners, not courtesans for their male counterparts. c) The Civil Society On the ground of their nonpolitical nature, women's NGOs and associations usually fail to support women's candidates. This situation is exacerbated by the lack of a non-partisan women's lobby (gathering

Interview of Mrs. Mountou-Bayonne, Botoka, Ngollo-Lembe, Galloy, 1996)


all women irrespective of their creed or political choices), which deprive women from a mechanism which could have helped support and promote their candidates. d) Legal Obstacles The mode of voting is often not favourable to women. Another issue to address is whether to adopt the quota or parity system. e) Insecurity Despite peace agreement, mutual confidence has been greatly affected and needs to be restored. - In addition, although physical barricades have been dismantled, the psychological ones still remain a detractive factor for the coming presidential election and the legislature in 1998. Therefore, the conflict resolution issue must be addressed and paid thorough attention to for peaceful elections. Women and Electoral Processes: Strategies ?? Literacy, political and civil education are of ultimate importance in order to progress from passive to enlightened voters. The youth also must be taken into account to end the use of under-aged voters by politicians. National and international texts must be localised and disseminated. ?? Individual economic empowerment of women is necessary, but collective actions are also necessary. The ideal and long-term solution to the fund-raising issue would be pushing government to take a law on party-funding to end financial inequality and do away with mobilisation of national logistics by ruling parties. Yet, a short- or medium-term solution would be to experiment American women's initiative when they created the 'Women's Campaign


Fund" in 1974 or "Emily's List" in 1985 in order to raise funds and help women candidates. Why not try traditional mechanisms such as women's revolving credit? ?? Setting up peace committees in all districts and educate women on peace culture so that every family will turn into a peace committee. Conflict resolution programmes must be developed to empower people to anticipate or stop conflicts themselves. ?? Parties' gender-proof programmes must be addressed by women themselves. The civil society must network for peaceful and transparent elections. Target grassroots women, traditional authorities and religious bodies. ?? Make independent, permanent electoral commission an issue where it does not exist for transparent and peaceful elections. ?? Indulge in research-action to regularly evaluate the progress in the legal and equality fields. This evaluation will be based on our vision for the 21st century. These are the pre-requisites to meet the challenges of the 3rd millennium and lay the foundations for a democratic, non-sexist Africa and sustainable development.


Women, Law and Human Rights in Africa
by Mrs. Tokunbo Ige19 Common problem which hinder the enjoyment of human rights by African woman have been well documented and discussed over the last two decades. Following the Nairobi and leading up to the September 1995 Beijing Conference, African women have been involved in a sustained campaign towards their recognition as human beings under the law. Unfortunately however, it seems that rhetoric has been given greater priority than the implementation of strategies and decisions taken to enhance the status of women. With the predominance of competing interests between received laws, religious and customary laws operating in many African states, legal problems continue to manifest themselves. As a result, there is a wide gap between de jure and de facto equality. Little or no recognition is given to these problems as human rights issues in order to find a solution using the “human rights approach.” Violations of women’s rights occur in all spheres of life. In the areas of family, property, labour and social welfare, laws they occur through inadequate definition of marriage, inequity in the division of property, a system of custody of children which favour the male, inadequate and inappropriate inheritance laws, inhibited access to land and other factors of production, unequal treatment of male and female workers and lack of adequate legal protection of women from violence. The judicial and legal systems in most African countries remain largely male dominated. They do not provide the necessary protection for women especially because most of their problems fall within the family sphere which is considered domestic. Ignorance, poverty, and

Legal Officer for Africa, International Commission of Jurists, Switzerland.


fear of reprisals in cases where legal protection is sought within local legal systems also hinder, women's access to justice. Review of the content and enforcement of laws which are in most situations discriminatory, have been the target of women's campaign efforts. Active participation of women in decision-making and uninhibited access to leadership positions in governance have been identified as important if there is to be a change in the status quo. Of course, as expected in a male dominated society, this will not come easy in the face of "unchangeable" cultural and traditional beliefs and practices. Even in situations in which a woman has a right to a leadership position - a cultural reason will be found to deprive her of the pleasure. The increased global concern for the restoration of women's status to a position of equality with men has informed many government policies to reform the position of women. Though most African governments are involved at the notional level in the formation of such policies, it is the women through organized action that have taken the initiative in researching their position. The use of legislation as a veritable tool in the process of women's development has encouraged the demand for reform and legislation amendments in favour of women and their rights. In spite of constitutional provisions and governmental adherence to international norms such as CEDAW, structural discrimination against women continues unabated. CEDAW was adopted in 1981 as a framework for ensuring the full and equal participation of women in the global development process. Its articles spell out the meaning equality of the sexes and how this can be achieved. The ratification of CEDAW by almost all African states has not led to a proportional improvement in the status of women. Most of the ratifying states have


done so with reservations which render the implementation of the Convention almost useless for women within their jurisdiction. As stated earlier, there are ongoing national efforts to combat discrimination and to enhance the participation of women in leadership and decision-making, what is probably lacking is the synergy required to create a continent-wide impact. Few women occupy high positions in public decision-making fora. While their numbers have been increasing slowly in some countries like Uganda, there has been little qualitative change in the real life situation. The proportion of women in public decision making offices has not been reached a point where their influence on public policy can be comparable with that of men. Empowerment programmes through non-governmental and some governmental efforts focus on leadership training, campaigns for the enlargement of political space for women and affirmative action policies amongst others. This is not to say that women have not acquired leadership positions, on the contrary a few women in many countries have at different times in history struggled for positions of leadership. Many of these women demonstrated their capabilities and made their mark in the political, social and economic spheres of l fe. i What is important to note is the notion of struggle and this is where there is a human rights problem. The more common pattern of governments in African be they military, dictatorial, military democracies or civilian democracies have worked to abridge the rights of women to equal participation. Whichever pattern is chosen, the use of force, violence, governmental might and other forms of intimidation in securing or retaining political power also affects the participation of women. This combined with cultural restrictions on women's participation in public life and the economic disadvantages of women have contributed to the apparent decline in the percentage of African women in leadership position today.


At the regional level, mainly through the intergovernmental structures of the OAU and the ECA and existing NGO networks, attention is being drawn to women's human rights issues of concern. Intergovernmental, structures such as the OAU have not been as responsive to the concerns of African women as it should. Again, this is understandable (but not acceptable), the secretariat is male dominated. works directly with an Assembly of men who's priorities do not include ensuring equal treatment for women. The agenda of the OAU ministerial meetings and the Summit speak for themselves. Little is known about the activities of the women's division in the OAU secretariat or of the Women's research unit/centre based in Addis Ababa or of other activities for the implementation of the Beijing Declaration at a regional level. There doesn't seem to be much cause for celebration in regard to regional action as most of this is visible in periods leading up to world Conference such as we have experience between 1994 and now. Taking into consideration all the existing realities, this meeting I believe provides us with a much needed opportunity to ask ourselves a number of questions and to try to find other practical ways harnessing our efforts at the regional level. How can African women increase their involvement in decision-making without falling prey to statecum-male machinations of co-option? How can national and regional efforts be harnessed to provide the required momentum for change? In view of the foregoing, one is not convinced that what we need to concentrate upon in answering these questions is the need for legal reform. Women must be encouraged to develop and exhibit public confidence in their abilities. What seems to be most needed is a set of strategies which can be translated into practice and realized by women of all categories within a definite time frame. For example, Women lawyers should be encouraged to step up their assistance towards challenging the status quo in favour of women. Furthermore, a call for


education of women on participation should be supported with concrete proposals such as who should be doing the education and how? how and within which period should an evaluation be carried out and by whom? This and any other strategy will require effective coordination at the regional level, may be through the Beijing Follow-up committee or other regional networks. There should be linkage between regional and national actions. Regarding the inadequate representation of women in OAU structures, an organized representation by women to the next Council of Ministers meeting should be considered. This could be further reinforced by representation during the next summit. The report of this meeting may be a good working document for developing a process in which the OAU and its organs are held accountable for their action towards promoting the rights women. There is need for an organized strategy to lobby African government to place women's concerns high on their agenda. In this regard it is important to mention the efforts being made by some NGOs working on women's rights issues with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, Participants at the seminar on the African Charter and African Women organized by the commission in March 1995 after discussing extensively the situation on the continent called for, amongst other things, for the drafting of a protocol to the African Charter. The protocol is to deal specifically with women's human rights issues and emphasise the concept of non-discrimination. The commission at its 20th session held in Mauritius in October 1996, resolved to support the preparation of the protocol, which will require political will. of the African governments for its coming into existence and implementation. The elaboration of this protocol coupled with the plan to integrate women's human rights concerns into its work will make the African Commission relevant to women.


Finally in regard to the African human rights systems, the participation of women on the implementing organs can only be realized if women candidates are put forward during the nomination process. For example with the African Commission, the only two women out of the 11 members they have today were nominated and eventually elected as a result of pressure by NGOS. The goal of these NGOs is to continue to push for more women on the Commission such that by the time of the OAU Summit convened in Harare additional post would have been filled by women. Lobbying for this purpose is to be done at the national level with the appropriate ministers to get them to forward a woman's name to the OAU secretary-general for serious consideration.




Women and Conflict Management in Africa: An Experiential Perspective
by H. E. Sylvie Kinigi20 The leadership of a nation and a people is no doubt a very difficult but ennobling task, when one is able to harmonize her own ambition with those of the people. The management of socio-political conflict is generally more demanding given the unpredictable nature of conflicts which are sometimes beyond reason and control. This was the type of sociopolitical crisis that I witnessed and was compelled to manage in my country, Burundi, a Prime Minister. Dear sisters, to understand the complexity of managing the crisis in Burundi; I consider it important to share with you the then prevalent condition at the time I assumed power as Prime Minister. Assumption of Office My assumption of office as Prime Minister would have marked a turning point in the political history of my country. It was the first time that a women was appointed Head of Government. Before then, women and social matters. Personally, I was in charge of the coordination of “PAS” until my nomination to the ministerial post. My government was the product of democratic elections which also gave an opportunity for the Hutus to have access to power with a civilian president for the first time, after 30 years of a Tutsi military rule.

Former Prime Minister of Burundi.


The winning party in the presidential elections also won the legislative elections with an overwhelming majority of 80%. I was not a member of this party and I was also not from the same ethnic group with the President. For the benefit of those not conversant with the history of my country, a brief background information may be necessary. It is a country that has witnessed a recurrence of socio-political conflicts with ethnic and regional implications, which has planted seeds of resentment in the minds of the people since independence. President Buyoya had attempted to transcend these divisions and to reunite the socio-political fabric with the hope of creating a favourable atmosphere for the democratic process. In this regard, he pursued a deliberate policy of national unity with an equitable distribution of posts among the two ethnic groups and the mobilization of the people toward national reconciliation. Unfortunately, the process was threatened by ethnic sentiments during the electoral campaigns. The result of the presidential elections of June ’93 exploded like a bomb in President Buyoya’s camp. Unfortunately, the result also sparked off inordinate ambitions on the part of the winning party members. It was this circumstances that compelled the new president to include the opposition party in the government with the intent of merging the competing interests on both sides of the political divide. As far as technical competence, socio-cultural, socio-political and economic factors influenced his choice of prime minister as well as other members of his cabinet.


From the Crisis Your Excellencies and dear sisters, coming back to the topic of my presentation, the running of a state does not squarely and solely rest on the shoulders of an individual alone. It actually rests on all the pillars that jointly constitute the state apparatus: the people, the institution of state power, instruments such as laws and their rules of procedure, fundamental national or universal values (social, cultural, democratic) that form the basis for national cohesion and of its people. The responsibility of the leadership in this regard is basically to seek to harmonise these components for welfare and the preservation of the heritage. The socio-political crisis that struck my country like lightening caused the collapse of these pillars. As lamented by the Psalmist what would the just do when the fundamentals have collapsed? With the assassination of the Head of State, the President and Vice President of the National Assembly, Vice President of the Assembly, the highest institutions of the state were decapitated. In addition, two ministers were also killed. This triggered off inter-ethnic killings. Hutus systematically killed Tutsis to avenge the death of the president. They were incited to this effect by a call made on the Rwandan Radio by some ministers and relayed on the field by certain parliamentarians and local authorities. Flaws on the part of the military in their operations intended to pacify the crisis rather worsened if in the areas affected. Those who survived were dispersed. Some fled to neighbouring countries, others sought refuge in churches and other public buildings, while others ran to the bush and the outskirts. Both from within and outside, appeals were strongly made for the cessation of the hostilities, which was actually stopped after four days leaving behind them the catastrophe, I was the only symbol of a surviving legitimate institutional authority, and as provided for in the


constitution, I was obliged to assume the interim leadership of the country. From the Management of the Crisis Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear sisters, anyone faced with such a situation would have been overwhelmed by despair. I was faced with a very difficult task which I accomplished. Encouraged by all the forces that emerged as the pillars of legitimacy I had to denounce the massacres, I was determined to fight the battle. This was necessary and urgent. Consequently, I devised a plan to: ??Define the priority objectives; ??Come up with measures to be taken and means to attain such objectives; ??Arrange the implementation of this plan. The announcement of these measures created a lot of hope; ?? The priority objectives were basically: ?? to stop the killings and revive the distressed; ?? to resume dialogue between existing institutions to support the restoration of order; ?? to prepare and organise to resuscitate the institutions. The achievement of these objectives was to be strictly based on the provisions of the legal instruments regarding our powers as defined therein in such circumstances. However, the law itself was incapacitated, given the depth and magnitude of the crisis. Certain measures planned to be taken turned out to be inapplicable, as they were either beyond our powers or inappropriate. Some examples:


1) The powers of the Prime Minister in the interim administration of the state was to be limited to the management of its day-to-day activities. The situation during our crisis, however, required more than running the day-to-day activities because there was war and sometimes, there was need to take measures that needed to be backed by law to normalise the situation. 2) To assume office of a president, the constitution did not provide any means other than through elections by universal suffrage. The critical situation in our country at this time was not conducive for organising elections. 3) The magnitude of the crisis called for the adoption of exceptional emergency measures. According to the law, the military was supposed to automatically assume control in such situation, whereas the nature of socio-political crisis was not ideal for these measures. There were numerous legal constraints. H6wever, laws are made for humankind and so we had to apply them in a manner that enabled us overcome constraints of the crisis. In some cases, it became necessary to violate them in order to move forward!! It was nevertheless through dialogue and in concert with people from all sections and shades of opinion that solutions could be found to these constraints, though not without difficulty. We mobilised the civil society among whom were religious denominations, human rights groups and various independent personalities to support campaigns in sensitising the people, relief operations and in the distribution of aid. We sensitised the military and political parties on the need for them to assume their responsibilities and contribute to the initiatives of the government. Crisis committees were set up at all levels.


The most difficult, but most important task was to reestablish dialogue between the institutions, since it was on this that the achievement of all the other objectives and above all the normalisation of the entire situation depended. It was necessary to have a minimum level of confidence between myself and my ministers, the government and the army, the national assembly and the people and the two dominant political parties in the parliament. We pursued this delicate task through formal and informal meetings. With the informal meetings combined with intelligence committees made up of select people of wisdom, and imput from female personalities, results were achieved. As soon as dialogue was reestablished, we quickly embarked on addressing the delicate question of resuscitating the institutions of the state, particularly the presidency. This was important and urgent for the following reasons: 1) even though I symbolised the survival of legitimacy, the constitution did not give me more than three months for interim administration with very limited powers; 2) because I was not from the ruling party, the demand by the supposed ruling party to reclaim its mandate was clear4y expressed; 3) collective administration of government has some limitations (even where there is a head, he cannot necessarily impose his decision at all time and in all situation); 4) given the fact that monarchy has been part of the tradition in Burundi and that this tradition still conspicuously feature in the ways of its people, the absence of the highest state authority created an unwholesome atmosphere fraught with speculations capable of provoking a drift. It was a difficult task getting the mandatory acceptance of an amendment to the constitution for the National Assembly to elect a new head of state, since elections through universal suffrage were


impossible. The opposition parties blocked this process in the first place and secondly, the constitutional court also questioned the legality of the amendment and the elections. Once again, it became necessary to initiate dialogue in a forum sufficiently representative of all groups: political parties, civil society and the government. We were only able to succeed because of the neutrality of the civil society. An agreement was reached within a period of one month and a half of consultations, and a new president was installed two weeks after. Some observers had also commented that I also played "the woman" to overcome these constraints, but this is not true. Lessons and Recommendations: 1. As I highlighted much earlier, institutions, organised structures, laws and regulations are indispensable in the good governance of a state both in times of war as well as in times of peace, but what is most important is human values. Yes, it is necessary to have men with leadership qualities, technical and managerial competence, sense of responsibility, devotion, moral integrity, respect for sociocultural values that account for the cohesion of a society. Yes, it is necessary to have men who exhibit the willingness to carry upon themselves the life and acts of their subordinates. Men who are capable and determined to conduct themselves as fathers of the family to the nation. The fact is that, as it has been observed: ?? these qualities are becoming more and more lacking in male politicians, but they are found in a lot of women; ?? the deterioration of fundamental social values is the origin of the fratricidal conflicts witnessed by humanity, and above an the anarchy going on in Africa. The current political class attaches less


importance to human dignity, development, patriotism and wisdom of experience; Dear sisters, the destiny of humankind generally rest in your hands. As it has been said, "when you educate a woman, you educate humankind; but when you educate a man, you educate an individual". It is an appeal! You must assume your responsibilities and revitalise the right values to save this continent and create hope to the generation of tomorrow. It is not by isolating yourselves from government activities that you be able to carry out this noble mission. In the past, the society, at least, protected women and children from the impact of war. Today, they are the major victims. This is why you need to rise up as “defenders of peace” without which the foundation of the future can not be laid. The woman has to be ready to fight and to seize the opportunities offered by the democratic process to occupy positions of their choice to decide their future. You have enough cards to win. What are these cards? 2. Women that come out to occupy positions of responsibility are rather few, but more competent than men. This is a pride on which there is need to build. The demands upon the woman in the society are numerous: she has to be more than doubly qualified to be promoted because no error from her is pardonable. She must always be able and willing. There is a positive value in this high expectation, because the society would want the woman to maintain an exemplary and ideal image whether as mother or wife. It is also for this reason that I consider her more suitable in the management of conflicts. In effect, her capacity as mother makes her prone to giving priority to the interests of others whom she regards as her children and to be patient and tolerant. As a woman, she symbolises unity between families, between people and peace in the family, the nation and she supports dialogue and consultation. Besides these natural and universal


qualities, women in Africa today have another advantage, that of constituting the majority of the electorate and sharing same needs and priority for development. These are the choices on which women need to capitalise to increase access to political leadership. The contribution we need to make to the political process as elders is to serve as apostles and to campaign for the cause of women leadership. We are here for this purpose. We could call for the Organisation of political training for women at all levels to be involved in activities that affect their interest in the society, and also to develop self-confidence and to be involved in all the ranks Of political party leadership and thus have the chance of participating in open competition for leadership m the institutions. Furthermore, we must continue to play the role of pressuring governments to translate the resolutions adopted at the Beijing and Dakar forums into concrete strategies and tangible objectives. It is also necessary to firmly support women NGOs that are emerging and women entrepreneurs because they are testimonies of the recognition that women are agents for development in general. They also call for the appreciation of women's contribution to economic growth on one side and social well-being on the other. Finally, it is important to encourage the, establishment of mechanisrns to facilitate the revitalisation of positive sociocultural values and conflict prevention at national levels with provisions giving priority to women. Your Excellencies, dear friends, the path is still long and the battle tough, but there is need to dream of equity as Martin Luther King did about freedom for blacks and we-will win.


Women and Conflict Management in Africa
by Bineta Diop 21 The year 1990 brought a ray of hope, the end of a long and exhausting war: the Cold War, which led to the belief that the world had entered a new era during which internal troubles and international differences would be resolved through peaceful negotiations. Sadly, just a few years later, these hopes have faded. While it is true wars between states seemed far less probable, conflicts and internal strifes have nonetheless multiplied. In 1996, according to UN sources, about fifty countries were involved in major crisis. In Africa, some conflicts such as the case in Southern Sudan are legacies of colonialisation and the decolonisation process. Others, for example Angola, are products of the Cold War. Yet others such as Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan are largely attributable to ethnic and inter communal differences. One should also remember Algeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Eastern Zaire, where rival groups are fighting to take over political power and legitimacy within the state. Beyond their differences; these conflicts show common trends some of which are: The massive migration of the population: all armed. crisis inevitably lead to an influx of persons who are fleeing to the interior in their own country (internally displaced persons) or towards neighbouring countries (refugees); today, Africa has the largest number of refugees; 30 African countries produce or accept refugees or do both at the same

Member, Executive Council, Synergies Africa, Switzerland.


time, a third of the total refugee population in the world estimated at 20 million are Africans out of which between 60 and 80% (per cent) are women; Media coverage: this channel is either used or neglected by the protagonists. Our media today is influential, and do not take into account the context of the reality on the ground and even are sometimes the determinants of the chart and the on-going of hostilities, depending on the attitude of the international community; for example, Somalia has been significant to that effect; Civilian participation: most of the victims of war are civilians, especially the vulnerable groups such as children, the aged and the women, with the latter as victims of rape or sexual violence, as the family support and protection mechanism breaks down; Lack of a clear solution: fights end in a place, break out in another, war and peace co-exist for a very long time and the conflict is never resolved; The solution to the latent crisis: are meant to be important humanitarian needs affecting nutrition, health and welfare, habitat, education, etc. and prevent all efforts in favour of social and economic development of the States in question. Women are the main victims of crisis on the continent and are aware of the important role they have to play for peace and actively organize at the national, regional and international levels to promote tolerance and peace.


Women: Peace and Development: Non-discrimination and equality of sexes are some of the principles proclaimed in the international instrument drawn up since the end of the Second World War. The International Women's Movement, punctuated by world conferences of the United Nations on Women, has for a long time attracted the attention of specialized agencies which take care of development as well as government for the need to integrate the woman’s dimension in the development process. The result is thus the proclamation by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the year 1975 as the International Year of the Woman with a threefold objective: equality, development and peace. In the early 70s with the concept of "Women in Development" (WID) emerged a thought process aimed at tying the question of the feminine gender to development by showing the advantages which exist in this link, especially at the l vel of economic growth, to "invest in women". e This approach lays emphasis on the contributions that women could offer to development, rather than how development could improve the lifestyle of women. Furthermore, we passed on from the concept of "Women in Development" to "Gender and Development (GAD)" the term "gender" being understood in the sense of social rapport between the women and men. If any progress was made in the integration of "gender" in development policies, at all, it is hard to understand why the participation of women who represent more than half of the world's population, in decision-making for peace is practically non-existent.


In Africa, long-term development cannot be realized without sustainable peace, and peace cannot be attained without the active participation of women. We are therefore at the stage of "Peace, Gender and Development" and the next Pan African Women's Conference scheduled to take place in Kigali from the l' to the 3 d of March, 1997, organized by OAU, ECA and the Rwandese Government, would be a great cornerstone in the great building that women are about to erect for peace and development in Africa. The Position of the Woman in Conflict Areas/Zones The living conditions of the woman even in times of peace, are very often low to that of men on the educational, health and nutritional levels, as outlined in the Human Development Report of 199,9 published by the UNDP. Besides, they are often the objects of violence within their own family, their society or part of the State. In times of war, men are recruited as soldiers or become prisoners of war, women are often faced with the growing responsibilities towards their children or their aged parents. They become the sole and final guarantors of unity and survival of the family, thereby carrying the economic burden at the same assuming the role of father and mother. These additional loads are furthermore aggravated while the family finds it an obligation to move to another region or to seek refuge in another country. During an armed conflict or internal strife, the woman is not exempted. She endures the same suffering as the whole population be it mass execution, torture, arbitrary imprisonment, forced migration, taking of hostages, threats and intimidation. She equally is subjected to direct and indirect effects of hostilities such as bombings, famine and epidemics.


Besides, she is the single target for all kinds of sexual violence such as rape, sexual mutilation or sexual enslavement, The truth is becoming fashionable that the belligerent use of rape as an integral part of the war strategy. Although such acts are considered as serious violations of human rights, culprits often go unpunished. The Human Rights Watch/Africa on the genocide in Rwanda showed that rape was programmed and used as an arm of genocide; but up till today, the International Tribunal for Rwanda did not include in its list of offences rape crimes and sexual violence against women. At present, no advertisement is made on the principal role that women play in the daily management of conflicts and their abilities and knowhow in the area of mediation to resolve conflicts, for the restructuring of family life to help in healing wounds. They are marginalized in all circumstances of decision-making and their preoccupations are not taken into consideration in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. This is why women mobilize' and organize themselves to make their contributions effective and efficient in management, prevention and resolution of conflicts and take part in decision-making for peace. The Role of Women in the Peace Process War is a man’s affair we often hear. In fact, world history shows that decisions taken for a State to take off full force is hardly done by women. However, this does not mean that women are not concerned with armed conflicts. During wars, men are recruited as fighters and sometimes become prisoners of war. During this period, women again find themselves taking care of the family, even their community, shouldering the economic load and especially the survival of children and the aged.


These responsibilities are most of the time multiple when the family or community are forced to flee from their homes, region or country. Consequently, if "war is a man's affair", it must certainly be reaffirmed that "peace is surely a woman's affair". To treat women as victims goes back to relegating them to an inactive role and ignore their impact in the reconstruction of peace, the rehabilitation of the community and national reconciliation. Women are mobilized in many African countries with the aim of promoting the peace process in conflicts. These activities which are most often than not carried out in isolation and limited, does not benefit from effective wide media coverage. Women have used different strategies in order to reinforce the abilities of existing structures; to rehabilitate, reconstruct and reconcile; and protect refugee and displaced women. They have used education and health programmes, taught peace through education, human rights and the knowledge of law. It is necessary to evaluate the deeds of women's movements for peace in Africa in order to ensure that they form pressure groups to make themselves ' heard, by organizing marches, to proclaim messages, and call upon the fighting factions to halt their carnage. In the armed conflict areas, such as Burundi, Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan, women's movement for peace have been known to make spirited efforts at reconciling waning factions. For example, in Liberia, even if women had no chance to take part in negotiations and in meetings held by the different parties, all the women's associations and groups were mobilized and have succeeded in making declarations to the United Nations, the OAU and ECOWAS.


Women have equally organized peace marches and printed posters and brochures with slogans on disarmament and peace. At the International level the Pan African Organization of Women, in June 1976, presented to the United Nations Commission on the Condition of the Woman a convention containing 25 articles. This has largely influenced the write up of the final text on the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination towards women adopted on 18" December 1979 and put in force on 3" September 1981. It is necessary to recognize the importance and the value of work done by this organization in the drawing up process of the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination. They are for dialogue which is in favour of peaceful settlement of conflict,,;, especially by the use of traditional methods of calling for mediation and negotiation and not by aggression. The organization Sudanese Women Voice for Peace has organized different meetings with the aim of restoring dialogue between Sudanese women of the North and South. During the United Nations Conference on Peace in Somalia, in Addis Ababa in 1993, the Somalian women who were not admitted formed an official delegation. They however, achieved their aim in favour of peace, by composing native songs and poetry which moved the different delegations present. They organized fora aimed at analyzing the areas through which they could influence the settlement of conflicts. The regional conference on women and peace which was held in Kampala, Uganda from 22 to 25 November 1993, gave women the chance to reflect on the reasons for which they have played such a


marginal role on issues which bear upon their very survival, their families and the society as a whole. The Action Plan of Kampala which was drawn up recommends the formation of an appropriate structure aimed at promoting feminine leadership in the prevention, management and the resolution of conflicts. They unite and work together at the national, regional and international levels, in order to evaluate the activities that they have done towards the peace process, to create a network of women § movements for peace. A Tent of African Women for Peace was erected during the NGOs forum and the fifth African regional Preparatory Conference on Women, in Dakar (1994) by UNIFEM/AFWIC. The Tent of Peace gathered together women's movements for peace in Angola, Burundi Burkina Faso, Congo, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa and Southern Sudan, as well as militants of peace. This mobilization did indeed demonstrate their determination, to spend time to review their actions, and elaborate common strategies to include in the agenda for the Women's Beijing Conference. The fourth conference on women in Beijing in 1995 was the demonstration of mobilization for the struggle for equality, development and peace. Not only did 50,000 persons take part, but no United Nations conference had until then whipped up so much interest. About 30,000 Non-governmental Organizations world-wide took part in this forum where workshops, exhibitions and other activities were organized. The African NGOs , well prepared and organized were able to effectively contribute to the drawing up of a regional action plan.


The remarkable in of Beijing was the handing over of the flame of peace, symbolizing the daily struggles of women in Africa to promote the settlement of conflicts, appeasement, peace-building and the sustainable existence. This flame was handed over by the leader of an African group in Beijing and was lighted in Senegal and would travel across Africa to deliver the message of peace. They form appropriate structures aimed at the promotion of leadership by women in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. The ad hoc meeting of the Committee of Experts on the leadership of women in matters of peace, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November 1996 under the auspices of the OAU and the ECA had as participants members of African governments, experts as well as feminine NGOs. It set up a mechanism for the promotion of leadership of women in the peace process. Thus, the putting in place recommendations of the earlier meeting in Kampala. In conclusion, feminine initiatives on peace is growing in Africa. The need is becoming urgent to include through training, the emphasis on their capabilities, technically as well as financially to make visible their clear actions through the media. In that way we would supervise to see that they play an important role in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, i.e. the formation of feminine leadership at all levels. The Role of Regional Institutions Since the formation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963, the civil society had exerted pressure on member states of the OAU for the latter to consider the question of the conflicts prevention, peacebuilding and security as priority on the regional organization agenda. However, until the beginning of the year 1990, only ad hoc measures existed.


In June 1993, faced with the seriousness of the situation in Africa, the Assembly of Head of States and Governments took a decision to establish a mechanism for conflict prevention and resolution. The Mechanism developed would install a central organ made up of member states in charge of the process. The principal objective of this Mechanism is about the rapid alert and the prevention of conflicts. In case of tensions, the Mechanism must allow the support of preventive diplomacy and the maintenance of peace. One can only lament, that during the long debate on the role of the OAU on peace, the pre occupation of the woman was totally ignored and their presence rendered ineffective. Already in the case of peace in the OAU, it seems that the personnel is made up of 30% of women, including the regional office. The top officials who are female represent only 17%. On the other hand., in general service where the personnel is less qualified, the women have a larger population of staff - 40%. It is important to note that these persons have never occupied a post in any political setup. OAU is at the moment undergoing a serious review, taking into consideration the future of the SG's mechanism for conflict prevention and resolution. Feminine NGC)s must be included in the discussions on the outcome of the peace mechanism where most of the attempts at reconciliation have failed up ti.1-1 today. The plea of the feminine NGOs to decision-making bodies of the OAU is a condition sine qua non. At the OAU, the women section is particularly committed. to promoting African women and their participation in the decisionmaking process, by organising conferences for groups of female members of governments as Well as female related NGOs. This is


done in collaboration with other bodies, especially Women's units of the Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), The ECA actively participated in the preparation of the Beijing Conference. It ensured the follow up 'm Dakar, by organizing a meeting of the fifth bureau for the regional conference on women as a source to draw up an African regional action platform for the Beijing Conference. The ECA made efforts towards the active mobilization of resources for the implementation of different sections and platforms of action. To this day, a project in relation to a special fund has been drawn aimed at establishing some activities which have traits of promotion of the leadership qualities in the area of public decision-making; economic autonomy and the promotion of legal and individual rights of the woman. The meeting in Johannesburg, in November 1996, being a follow-up of the Kampala meeting and initiated by the ECA, OAU and the UNDP, pleaded for the promotion of leadership of African women in decisionmaking in the peace process. It is happy to realize that the feminine NGOs were included. This typical example shows that the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in collaboration with the United Nations Programme for Development (UNDP), have for many years dedicated themselves to the promotion of the African woman and her participation in decision-making, among others for the establishment of peace, resolution of conflicts and national reconciliation. Their action programme gives more attention particularly to women.


Women-Africa-Solidarity Most attempts at reconciliation tip today have failed. The association of feminine NGOs must therefore be involved in the discussions on peace, as much as the efforts of the consolidation of peace encountered with much success in some countries recently which is from their own initiatives. It is therefore vital and more as an evidence that the settlement of conflicts in Africa necessarily go through the use of endogenous forces, hence the urgency to put them in place. This is what Synergy Africa is involved in carrying out. This International NGO, formed by Africans based in Geneva, aims at reinforcing the abilities of NGOs and other African institutions for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa. Synergy Africa is the founder of "Women-Africa-Solidarity" (WAS), which has formed, established and promoted leadership of African women in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. Women-Africa-Solidarity wants to hit directly at the roots of conflicts and not to take only into account the abilities of men; but also fully use women as important resources. That is why WAS aims at promoting and reinforcing leadership in African women in the process of peace by creating a Foundation which also supports the action of women occupying responsible positions, such as in feminine NGOs founded on the basis of the peace process. Women-Africa-Solidarity sets up the mobilization of women leaders identified at the national regional and international levels which constitutes potential resources for activities to be carried out on the ground.


In order to avoid the overlapping and strengthening of endogenous capabilities, WAS works within the frame work of existing structures at all levels. Thus, Women-Africa-Solidarity is for the strengthening of abilities through the techniques of training and political negotiations. The training is particularly for the channeling of resources and the strengthening of skills in the woman. The organization supports the exchange and collection of information in order to promote the effective collaboration at the continental level. Conclusion: The formation of a favourable environment for peace and development would be through well defined actions using the large potential of resources both human and financial which Africa has, by giving the African woman a leading position. All activities of WAS are set up in order to support the initiatives at the grassroots and to promote the leadership of women in positions of decision-making at the local, regional and international levels. The following strategies are adopted to achieve this objective: ?? organization of training courses to enable the strengthening of The the capabilities of women leaders in the different techniques of negotiation, including traditional methods, management methods, knowledge of the international human rights as wen as other international instruments, regional or national relative to human rights; ?? Holding of seminars and conferences for the exchange of experiences, to sensitize public opinion, and inform the media;


?? Sending out evaluation mission to the conflict or conflict prone areas i-n order to promote peace in that area; ?? Promotion of study activities and the search for a better understanding of problems in order to find appropriate solutions to them; ?? distribution of publications such as information bulletins and The liaison; ?? mobilization of resources at the African level and at the The International level with the aim of supporting initiatives of women in favour of peace.


Challenges of the Private Sector
by Mrs. Evelyn Mungai22 Ladies and Gentlemen, I am indeed grateful to have this opportunity to address you here today. The topic of Women and the Private Sector is one that I hold dear to my heart having been a player for almost the last quarter century. There is not doubt that women have come a long way as entrepreneurs and business-women in the 20th century. They have overcome in many ways obstacles of cultural, political, economic and perception nature to curve an independent niche in the world of business. Though for a long time they were simply dismissed as men'’ appendages in whatever they undertook, in the 1980s, their contribution was so outstanding that governments and development organizations could no longer simply bypass them as a by – product of anything of anything but their sole initiative and hard work. Are there gender specific challenges confronting African women in attaining critical positions of leadership in the private sector? – goes the question! Whereas I may not say that the problems faced by the woman in the private sector are totally different from those faced by the man, I am vow to the fact that the gender factor has been the number one factor that has exacerbated everything in the differentiation of the experiences of the two genders. Women in several countries of Africa, are the majority or at least make up half of the total population. They produce 60 to 80 percent of all the food in Africa. They head 30% or more of the households which is monumental!! Their entrepreneurial contribution can only be valued by

President, All Africa Business Women Association (AABA), Kenya


the millions. However, when it comes to large scale operations at the national, regional, and international levels in business and in the economy in general, they occupy a marginalized position and are alarmingly under-represented. Cultural factors are basic to the gender issue. Women in Africa have a maternal role to play which unfortunately cannot be delegated in any way. Almost universally, every African woman is concerned about and determined to expand their lineage. Childlessness or small families are in some instances regarded as the work of evil spirits. Most women seek to have as many children as possible. It is not until very recently and only among a small group of Africans that the attitudes that lead women in other continents like America, Europe and Japan to defer childbearing so as to further education career ambitions, and desire for independence are catching on in Africa. The above problem is compounded by the fact that women are generally poorly educated as compared to their male counterparts. A parent with a girl and a boy child once accosted by a school fees problem will opt for the boy to continue with school where as the girl can stay home and help as awaits to mature to marriageable age. Although this trend now is slowing down, the effects are still felt far and wide on the continent this means that girls miss out on some fundamentals of necessary entrepreneurial training. This naturally relegates them to the lower echelons of performance in the private sector in the long run. Most Traditional land tenure systems in Africa prohibit women from inheriting property. Therefore women have no legal right to such assets. Unfortunately, there are the assets that are traditionally accepted as collateral for bank loans.


Consequently, such traditions discriminate against women in credit policies as they favour males who can inherit the invaluable assets. It is estimated tat only 18% of the Third World women gain access to credit. While I do admit that availability of credit is not the elixir for solving women’s entreprenual problems, and catapulting them into the 21st century. It does give them a push in the right direction. Studies have shown that women are generally better at fulfilling obligations than credit their male counterparts. Though not a direct problem of gender. I wish again to point out though at the risk of repeating myself all over again, that for a long time, women have been relegated to the background of their various economies on their farms, kitchens and small scale marketplaces. This has been to the extent that with the new awakenings and with more and more women trying to penetrate the upper echelons of the private sectors, they are realizing that they have a lot of catching up to do. First, women are realizing that they lack basic information on for example what products, goods and services are selling and where and how? How and where can they get funding? Most of them feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of where to begin let alone proceed. Since there are not that many established women who can serve a s “guinea pigs”, whereby fellow women can look and say “if so and so have done it why not me? Many women simply give up. Lack of strong women lobby groups to empower women with the confidence that goes with conquering new lights and fields is a contributing factor to there being not so may established women in the private sector. For women to emerge as victors in the 21st century, they must down their fears, abandon “the me myself’ attitude ad gang up to the best in the sector. We cannot afford to sit back and lament the effects of gender biases that we have undergone forever. The time has come for us to say, “yes we have come this far, now let us reach for the sky”.


Tell me even as we are seated in this room this today … and here are some of the women that I consider the “Crème de la Crème” of the women private sector participation in their various countries, if I may ask how many of us have some to grasp with things like the stock exchange markets ad shares? How many of us have invested in them? How many h ave a clue as to how they function and of what benefits they can be to our businesses? With the liberalization of the global economy, (and as far as I know African countries are trying their level best to partake of the process), information can no longer be hidden or kept away from others unnecessarily too long. One problem that women in Africa face is that of networking information. Women need to form networks through bodies like AABA. In the 21st century, speed in gathering and disseminating and the alacrity with which the information is acted upon by the recipients are going to be of utmost importance. Such organization should serve as business women’s watchdog’s; providing up to the minute information on business and trade around the continent and where possible worldwide and around the clock. In short, ladies and gentlemen, yes we do admit that there are gender specific problems that have hindered the full participation of women in the private sector and which if not checked may spill into the 21st century. We do however say that the women have to come out strong and overcome.


Access to Finance: The Micro-Enterprise Revolution
by African Development Bank23 A large proportion of the African population today is engaged in micro-entrepreneurship as subsistence or small producers whose major pre-occupation is production for survival rather than for growth. These micro-enterprise operate mainly outside the formal economy. By their nature, they have little or no access to formal lending sources. Under the current set-up of lending institutions, it is often very uneconomical for formal commercial lenders to extend credit to micro-entrepreneurs because of the high costs and risks of administering small loans to usually sparsely placed borrowers. In spite of their “invisibility” in the mainstream formal economy, micro-entrepreneurs have a very important role to play in the economy and in the overall development process. It is estimated that the informal sector accounts for about 60 percent of the urban labor force in low-income Africa and contributes, in many countries, as much as 20 percent of GDO. There is, therefore, a need to facilitate the development of this sector of the economy by opening up new channels of credit delivery to the poor. On a cautionary note, it has been argued that credit has its limitations as a tool for alleviating poverty, notably among women-headed households. Results from evaluations of the impact of credit support to micro-enterprises are mixed. Some have praised the programmes for their indirect training benefits for the participants, for example, in relation to acquisition of loans and negotiating contracts, while others have criticized them for their high cost and failure to create employment. For women-specific projects, favourable socio-economic

Delivered by A. Beileh, Chief. Operations Policy and Procedures Division, ADB, Cote d’Ivoire


results have been found: stabilizing impacts on incomes and enhancing women’s status within the households.24 It is important that the new credit initiatives must first study the informal sector lending schemes that exist today. In spite of their cost, they are still used by the poor women. This indicates that the latter are willing to pay for credit and that formal institutions might be able to reach similar groups. This would be cheaper for the lenders, but will not affect the profits of formal financial institutions. The Role of Financial Intermediaries Financial intermediaries act as middlemen between savers and investors. They play an important role in mobilizing savings and providing credit to entrepreneurs for development. In most of Africa, the financial sector is still underdeveloped by the standards of other developing countries. One limiting characteristic of financial systems in most African countries is the overwhelming dominance of banks over financial intermediation which reflects the underdevelopment of non-bank financial institutions. Another limiting factor is the dominance of government owned or controlled banks. The dominance of the government ownership and control were associated with control exercised over bank activities, interest rates, the volume of credit and the allocation of credit. Often the motives for establishing such institutions were worthy, but the consequences were adverse. Real lending rates were low, and often negative, reflecting nominal interest rate ceiling enforced by government. This meant that government could finance their expenditure cheaply, but it also encouraged low productivity investments, it necessitated credit rationing by the banking system, and

See the example, Both et al., Social and cultural Change in contemporary Tanzania – A People Oriented Focus, Stockholm University, Sweden, 1993.


it meant that real deposit rates would also be low (or negative) if banks were to make a profit. Low, or negative, real deposit rates discouraged financial savings and impeded financial intermediation Governments invariably insisted that banks maintain a high level of reserves, averaging 20 to 25 percent of assets, compared to 5 –8 percent in developed countries. Such high requirements led to a wide difference between deposit and lending rates which damaged financial savings and investments at the same time. The difference was some measure of the implicit tax that governments levy on the banking systems by requiring such high reserve ratios. Furthermore, in many African countries, the government became the major borrower from the banking system, owing to the large fiscal deficits which need financing. It is from this background that financial sector reform in Africa is taking place within the context of structural adjustment programmes. Despite notable progress with financial intermediation, the performance of the financial sector in Africa in providing funds for entrepreneurs needs to be improved. Banks still predominate the financial system and non-bank financial institution are generally underdeveloped. The development of non-bank financial institutions, such as stock exchanges, is crucial since they are the institutions that can provide the longs terms funds and risk capital required for the private sector to fulfill its mandate as the engine of growth of the economy. Africa needs sustained efforts to diversify its financial institutions and instruments in favour of non-bank financial institutions, while at the same time continuing with the strengthening and restructuring of banks. In this regard, the necessary legal and institutional frameworks will need to be put in place, particularly those pertaining to the development of the capital markets. Understandably, small, medium and micro-enterprises cannot be delayed until such a time when non-bank financial institutions are developed. Hence the existing institutions that have the potential capacity to finance small,


medium and micro-enterprises, will need to be strengthened. Strengthening Micro-finance While substantial progress has been made with reform of formal financial sector, credit delivery to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) remain inadequate to meet their financial needs. Formal financial arrangements are, often, not well suited to the needs of SMEs as their loan requirements are small and the costs of processing the loans tend to be high relative to the loan amounts. It is also difficult for financial institutions to obtain the information necessary to assess the risks of new, unproven ventures, especially because small firms often depend heavily on the abilities of the entrepreneur. There are indications from a number of countries that there is a substantially larger demand for credit than banks would like to believe, but fewer creditworthy projects than potential borrowers believe they have. Indeed the high demand for credit among existing firms is strong, expressed by the high percentages of firms that have not only expressed a desire for loans at market rates of interest but have persistently applied to banks or sought other sources ff rejected. While successful growing micro-enterprises often can meet working capital needs from internal finance, they need external finance to expand. Stagnant firms are more likely to need working capital to offset weak cash flow or investment capital to replace obsolete equipments. Despite the evidence of little use of bank credit, many studies of enterprise finance suggest that medium - and small-sized firms that seek credit are likely to turn first to a bank. - Among the reasons for going to the bank are a greater perceived chance of success and a lower interest rate. Those that do not first apply to a bank consider their chances of receiving bank loans low or do not have a bank account.


Under competitive financial market conditions, it is expected that when firms fail to secure formal loans they would replace these with informal finance. However, when SMEs fail to obtain formal credit, which is what they initially seek, they do not substitute formal finance with informal finance. The usual response to unavailable formal credit are to scale down planned investment to equal received formal credit, if any, utilize personal savings of the entrepreneur, and that of the enterprise, when they can be separated, to finance part or all of planned investment; and delay or abandon planned investment. The less-thanexpected use of informal finance, apart from start-up capital from family and friends, reflects the highly segmented nature of financial markets. Many firms tend to view borrowing from informal commercial sources as a measure of last resort rather than a preferred means of regular finance. Since loan applications to informal sources are almost always successful, the reluctance of SMEs to use informal finance indicates that its terms are unattractive for small manufacturing business. The credit gaps in various countries capture borrowers who cannot enter the circles of informal lenders because they do not find the packages of those lenders attractive for their purposes, and yet cannot gain access to the formal circles as they are considered ineligible. This does not mean small borrowers who want the types of loans that informal lenders provide are adequately taken care of. But if they have not received credit, it is mainly because the nearest informal lenders (for whom they are eligible) do not have enough from their limited resources to provide to them for any reasons. For the others no one can meet their demand cost effectively without significant revision of institutional structures. In searching for alternatives to formal sector finance, attention is increasingly being paid to strengthening informal and semi-formal finance, including micro-finance, for meeting credit demand by SMES.


There has been increased pressure on informal units to provide appropriate supporting finance. But the difficulties of making informal finance play a modified role quite different from the one it was used to, in terms of loans characteristics and uses, became apparent with the failure of these institutions. It is now obvious that while SMEs enjoy considerable goodwill among informal lenders, current informal market conditions are generally not suited to the type of finance required by a large number of SMEs. Sources of finance for SMEs An assumption underlying the characterization of growth and dynamism among small and microenterprises is that they are potentially efficient users of capital and that their capital needs, and how these are satisfied, are related to their size. As enterprises grow through different stages i.e. micro, small-, medium- and large-scale, they are also expected to shift financing sources from internal sources to external sources, generally starting with informal finance. While many microenterprises may find informal sources of credit and personal or family savings adequate, their financing needs can no longer be met by these sources as they become larger. Thus, a shift from informal to formal external sources would be expected as enterprises graduate to larger sizes, and would fall back on informal finance only if cheap formal finance is not available. The reality of business start-up and operation in Africa, however, does not portray such a linear progression. The domination by internal sources of funds as against external sources, even long after businesses have been established is generally observed. The typical situation is observed where, on average, about 65 percent of start-up capital in Africa businesses comes from owners' savings and most of the remainder are loans from family and friends. Few firms can draw regularly from external sources, including loans from Development


Finance Institutions (DFIs), equity issues, advances from parent companies. Also, while bank loans are used by some firms for working capital, the amounts involved are often far less than desired by the firms. Even for the finance of capital investments by manufacturing firms, internal sources of funds, mainly retained earnings or personal savings, dominate for small and medium sized manufacturing firms, while bank credit and suppliers' credit tend to be important for large firms. Indeed, while there is some bank credit in most financial systems, there is considerable evidence from a number of countries that it is not the decision factor in enterprise development. Bank finance is used mainly for large investments by large firms. For small medium sized enterprises, trade credit overwhelmingly dominates finance of operations. Clients pre-payment is often more important than suppliers 'credit for some micro-enterprises. The use of client pre-payment for goods as a major way of financing small businesses varies considerably among the different industrial sectors and by sub-region. However, micro-enterprises are generally more likely to give credit to their customers than receive from their suppliers. Suppliers' credit is more important to medium-sized enterprises (11-50 employees, usually) than it is to small and microenterprises. This structure of financing reflects not only the inefficiency of longstanding lending programmes targeted at small enterprises through formal banking institutions, but also suggests the futility of firms-size targeting when large firm may be precisely the best conduit to increase liquidity among medium and small scale firms through trade credit linkages. Considering the relatively large number of rejected bank loan applications, there is clear evidence of little spill-over into fragmented informal segments of the financial market. Indeed, the absence of spill-overs is characteristic of the fragmented markets of Africa. Spillover's do not occur because, even though the borrower has an


unsatisfied demand for finance, none of the offers made by the informal sector would provide an income benefit in excess of that which is available by not borrowing. Recent Development with Microfinance To counter the effects of credit market failure that result in fragmentation and the exclusion of many potential borrowers from markets, a variety of credit schemes have been introduced. Innovative credit-retailing schemes are usually community-managed credit and savings schemes that are established to improve members' access to financial services, build a community self-help from innovative schemes generally, are more likely to be born out of donor projects, and are not necessarily community-based. Indeed, over 80 percent of enterprise development programmes that donors sponsor throughout Africa have a microfinance component. For more than a half of such projects, the focus is solely on microcredit. For many innovative scheme, however, credit provision may not be the only operational objective. Even for those that perceive credit provision as the ultimate assignment, the extent to which direct supply of credit is present in their programmes, depends on whether they adopt the I minimalist' or 'Integrated' approach. By the "minimalist approach", the organization concentrates only on lending. AU activities that it engages in are designed to facilitate lending. These include the training of staff and also beneficiaries to the extent that they can comprehend how the loan programme works. Under the "integrated approach", training and other forms of technical assistance are regarded as integral components of a whole scheme for assistance. Most of the acclaimed innovative schemes have been based on the I minimalist' procedures. A recent trend in some of them has been the emphasis on market principles. Innovative credit schemes and micro-finance activities are far better known in Asia and Latin America than they are in Africa. Apart from there being fewer Programmes in Africa, their occurrence among


countries varies considerably also. There are countries with a good number of micro-finance programmes, including Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau, and others with very few, including Sao Tome, Chad, Mauritania and Sierra Leone. Through donor participation, many African micro-finance arrangements have benefited from best-practices developed in other developing regions. They have drawn some ideas from more successful projects elsewhere, including the following: 1) the issuing of short-term loans; 2) starting with small initial loans; 3) concentration on small working capital to firms with proven tract record; 4) specialized services without targeting; 5) simplified services; 6) localized services; 7) shortened turn-around time for loan applications; 8) motivation of repayment through groups solidarity or joint liability; 9) savings mobilization from the poor; and

10) charging of full-cost interest rates.


Village Banks, for example, emphasize loans to finance income generating activities and savings. In establishing joint liability group lending mechanisms, their members are expected to overcome collateral requirements. They lend on unsecured bases using five-person group guarantees, whereby each individual is responsible for the others and future access to credit is determined by all members repaying loans. This is a principle borrowed from the Grameen Bank. There are a number of micro-finance projects in Africa, however, that provide credit to individuals and projects. A number of the schemes in Francophone African countries have a mixture of groups and individual arrangements. The loan characteristic of micro-finance schemes indicate that their loans are comparable to those of most existing informal arrangements. Loan sizes for Village Bank range from $160, with an average of $60. The relatively small loan sizes are to discourage the rich from seeking Village Bank credit. While interest rates are higher than most formal lending rates in Africa, they tend to be lower than the rates of moneylenders. The characteristics of these loans suggest that a large segment of Africa’s private sector cannot use such facilities to finances investments. They are useful for the very poor micro-businesses, similar to those finance by the informal sector. Assessments of the achievements of the credit programmes of microfinance programmes are centered on repayment rates, loan sizes savings level programme costs, and income from interest. Evaluations of repayment in Village Banking programmes have been high, averaging 90 per cent in many places. Projects that have high repayment rates often have the following characteristics: ?? more training Programmes for participants than others; ?? interest rates were not subsidized; ?? they have integrated formal written membership requirements and


screening measures into their bye-laws to ensure discipline among members; ?? savings programme accompanies lending; a ?? appropriate socio-cultural environment, e.g., population not an being transient, helps to: reduce default as social sanctions are strongest in that environment. A number of recent evaluation of microfinance Project have examined the extent of their outreach activities and their drive towards selfsustainability. Financial self sustainability is achieved when the return on equity, net of any subsidy received, equals or exceeds the opportunity cost of funds. Out-reach is measured on the basis of the type of clientele served and the variety of financial services offered, including the value and number of loans extended, the value and number of savings accounts, the types of financial services offered, the number of branches and villages sub-branches, the percentage of the total rural population served, the real annual growth of the institutions assets over recent years and the participants of women as clients. Comparing the models of the innovative schemes and ascertaining their compatibility with known practices and attitudes in African countries, reflected in informal systems, introduces a better understanding of their difficulties. Various evaluations suggest that while innovative and other micro-finance projects are performing creditably in making credit available, local environments often constrain their ability to bring costs down much lower than they presently are. They cannot go where the informal sector can with their present set-up, hence providing a justification for a link between them. Evidently both microfinance and informal finance try to reach the same target groups, but with different structures.


Towards improving Finance for SMEs It is evident that the problem for financial development in most African countries remain how to ensure that institutional development and innovation leads to a filling of the "credit gap" facing SMEs. While they lack access to bank credit, their requirements exceed the limits of informal agents as well as many micro-finance programmes. There is currently limited scope for enhancing the allocation of credit equitably and efficiently outside of a closer relationship between the formal and informal sectors. As seen earlier, fragmentation of the financial. system can be very wasteful. Closer linkage between different segments can improve the efficiency of the system by enabling different agents to specialize for different market niches and by facilitating the flow of savings and credit up and down the system. Filling the credit gap may require incentives to the formal financial sector to establish conditions and support for informal and semi-formal institutions to move up to this market following an integration of the financial markets. The approach to a greater role for informal finance and micro-finance on the achievement of integrated financial. markets. The suggestion for integrated financial markets is based on the fact that a number of recent studies applying concepts from the 11 " institutional economics, stressing information asymmetry, transaction costs and risks have provided useful analytical tools for understanding the constraints that explain the persistence of fragmentation in African financial market even when financially repressive policies have been reformed. In an integrated financial market, direct and indirect linkages between the formal and informal sectors are evident and significant. The flow of funds among them is dictated by the awareness of their respective specializations that allow each segment to utilize the information and structural advantages of the others to enhance their own activities. Information flows are a major component of such market integration.


There is the obvious need for national policy framework that have appropriate levels of incentive and regulatory policies as a context for achieving integrated financial development. In addition to using such frameworks to provide a development platform for financial institutions by helping them to reduce and share risk with an acceptable incentive structure, the framework should draw on broader economic relationships by ensuring that the approach is truly demanddriven by the real sector. Hence, while avoiding a crowding-out of the private sector, the maintenance of steady growth of the real economy is very essential. The strong revival of informal finance in a number of countries after reforms provides a good testimony to the influence of a vibrant real sector on financial sector developments. ADB and Microfinance In the past, the African Development Bank group has rendered support to small and medium scale enterprises in RMCs through lines of credit channelled to Development Finance Institutions in the respective countries. Using this lending instrument, the Bank group committed a cumulative value of about US$3.1 billion in. lines of credit to Development Finance Institutions in RMCs by the e of 1993. Of nd this amount, contributions from ADF window amounted to US$348.6 million, representing about 11% of total Bank Group cumulative commitments in lines of credit to Development Finance Institutions in RMCS. In as much as the Bank Group has undertaken to serve small-scale entrepreneurship, no systematic intervention in support of microenterprises have been made so far using ADF resources, although during the ADF-VI period some initiatives were made towards addressing the needs of micro-enterprises in some limited way. These initiatives related mainly to assisting women in undertaking income generating activities through training, capacity building, and. extension


of small. loan. In general, however, it suffices to say that the ADF funding process in the past has concentrated more on bigger organizations. In spite of this imbalance, it is well acknowledged that a large proportion of the African population today is engaged in micro-entrepreneurship as subsistence or small producers whose major preoccupation is production for sustenance rather than for growth. These micro-entrepreneurs operate mainly outside the formal economy. By their nature, they have little or no access to formal lending sources. Moreover, under the current set-up of lending institutions, it is often very uneconomical for formal commercial lenders to extend credit to micro-entrepreneurs because of the high costs and risks involved in administering small loans to usually sparsely placed borrowers. In spite of their 'invisibility' in the mainstream formal economy, micro-entrepreneurs have a very important role to play in the economy and in the over-all development process. It is estimated that the formal sector accounts for about 60 percent of the urban labor force in low-income African countries and contributes, in many countries, as much as 20 percent of GDP. There is, therefore, an urgent need to facilitate the development of this sector of the economy by opening up channels of targeted assistance to micro-enterprises. A credit delivery mechanism would constitute one of such channels of assistance to the poor and vulnerable groups engaged in micro-entrepreneurship. It is in this area of intervention that the Bank Group's micro-enterprise programme is expected to focus. The Bank Group's micro-enterprise programme during the ADF-VII period will entail putting in place a credit delivery mechanism to support micro-enterprises, mainly in the informal sector, with the aim of generating increased employment opportunities and providing more income generating micro-project. The programme will involve non-


governmental organizations (NGOs) and other selected national institutions in the delivery of credit to the disadvantaged groups of micro-entrepreneurs. To be included in the programme is technical assistance for training and/or institutional building for intermediaries and targeted beneficiaries, especially women would be included in the programme. The micro-enterprise programme in ADF-VII will be tailored towards complementing the Bank's Private Sector Development Strategy and to augment the Bank's Poverty Alleviation Strategy and Action Programme. Appropriate operational linkages will, therefore, have to be made in order to ensure affective execution of the Bank Group's micro-enterprise programme. Finally, it should be noted that this initiative being advanced by management on a framework for credit delivery to micro-enterprises during the ADF-VII period, sets up a new sphere of intervention. In order to effectively carry out this programme, it will be necessary to increase the Bank's internal capacity to design, implement, monitor and evaluate micro-enterprise projects and programmes. The additional activities and workload will require more ADF staff-time and. presence.


Access to Finance: Micro-Enterprise Revolution
by Mrs. Stephanie Baeta Ansah25 Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the African Development Bank (ADB) for putting in place a scheme in providing funding for micro-finance enterprises in Africa. However, in my view, the $22m, even though a pilot scheme, is most inadequate for the needs of Africa. There is the need for solutions to the problems of credit and to mobilise domestic savings on a large scale. There must also be an enabling regulatory framework to ensure safety of those savings that are mobilised. Recently, we have had in Ghana, a spate of fraud through pyramid investment institutions mobilising vast resources from small savers and subsequently literally disappearing with the monies. They were able to raise these large sums by offering unrealistic rates of interest which of course could not be sustained. We should be careful in Africa in importing to the continent, schemes that have succeeded in other developing countries like Asia and Latin America particularly because of the cultural and socio-economic differences. What we need to inculcate in the people of Africa is the willingness to repay loans when they are taken and also to critically study the reasons why banks have not lent support to micro, small and medium size enterprises. When we know the reasons why they have failed to deal with these levels of people, then we can work to close the gaps and persuade the financial institutions to go into these lines of business.


Managing Director, Home Finance Company Limited, Accra, Ghana.


I strong recommend for this forum’s consideration, collective investment schemes in Africa which are managed by licensed institutions who have professionals able to manage the funds honestly and profitably. Collective investment schemes are known all over the world and includes in Africa our Susu or Stockveld groups. Home Finance Company Limited (HFC’s) recent experiences with the management of the Unit Trust has enabled it to mobilise substantial sums from people who before now had no regular saving habits. Initially, we had to go to the market women at the 31st December Market to take their small contributions of $10,000.00 (approx. US$5.8) and above. Within one year, we were able to extend the first mortgage loans to one of the market women who is a regular saver and had saved with us the minimum required deposit of 20%. This particular lady in question has since taken the loan and expedited repayment schedules and is expected to finish paying the loan within a very short period. This is to encourage others to develop a more serious attitude to saving with the Unit Trust. We no longer have to go after them. They come to our offices and are able to lodge amounts of about $1million (approx. US$588.00) a day. These people are mostly small traders, pepper and vegetable sellers who are accessed through the market queens, their leaders. We put them through various educational seminars. Even though HFC is a wholesaler of funds we have been satisfied with our first approach to the micro-enterprise sector. The micro-finance revolution is very much under way in Ghana, through the establishment of various savings and loans companies which operate mainly in the market areas of the main cities. These companies differ from banks in two respects: ?? they do not maintain chequeing accounts and that ?? they do not deal in foreign exchange that


The savings and loans companies were established and are regulated under the Financial Institutions (Non-banking) Law with supervision provided by the Central Bank as is done in the case of banks. Parliamentarians are urged to sponsor laws that provide an enabling environment for such small financial institutions to operate honestly and profitably. In Africa, interest rates are high mainly because of our inflationary environment but at the same time savings rates are also relatively high. We do not agree with the theory that micro-entrepreneurs earn so little that they are unable to save. In this country, each time, there is a major fire outbreak in the markets vast amounts of foreign currencies and local money are lost. But somehow, the entrepreneur are able to revive their businesses. There is the need to encourage this sector through educational programmes undertaken by NGOs. There is also the need to de-emphasise gender, in this exercise because families should be encouraged to save and not only women. We need the resources of the men as well to provide credit facilities to encourage growth in the micro-enterprise finance sector.


Evolving Gender Sensitive Policies and Programmes
by Idriss Jazairy26 As we stand at the threshold of the -third millennium, poverty and gender discrimination persist as stark denials of basic rights. Nearly five ears ago, the Summit on the Economic Advancement Of Rural Women, under the 1residencv of H. M. Queen Fabiola of Belgium, jolted the prevailing complacency about the worsening position of poor women. The situation, it underlined, could no longer be tolerated as the winds of democracy blew across the world. Some systematic denials of human rights based on ideology or race, spanning areas with clear geographic boundaries had by that time been swept away or were about to be. But gender-based discrimination persisted if only because patriarchy remained boundless, entrenched as it was in the hearts and minds of many. Yet, as The Beijing Declaration proclaimed unambiguously in 1995: Women's rights are human rights. Women now represent over 60% of people living in absolute poverty and that proportion is growing. So are their numbers, by about 15 million a year. While the majority live in rural areas overall, women living in absolute poverty in urban areas in Latin- America are already more numerous than their sisters in the country side. If present trends remain unchecked, that may also become the case in other parts of the world early into the next millennium.

Ambassador, Executive Director of ACORD, a consortium of international NGOs working in Africa, Former President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (UN specialized Agency).


At the international level, pressures on developing countries for the implementation of structural adjustment programmes without previous gender-based impact assessment have particularly hurt poor women. This is in addition to the deterioration of tern-Ls of trade or the debt overhang which have accentuated poverty overall. In developing countries themselves, while at the legislative level the recognition of some degree of gender equity if not equality is growing, customary law maintaining women in a subordinate position continues to hold sway. At best, gender issues are equated with women's issues as if the values held by men in society were to remain the norm, subject to mitigating adverse consequences for women genderblind land reforms, settlement and resettlement policies even tend to worsen the situation. So does the generalization of conflict and civil strife where, despicably, the rape of women and the looting of households have become part of war strategies. It is anybody's guess as to what the outcome will be of religious fundamentalism now claiming to convince 1 billion people that the restoration of patriarchy is not only legitimate and mandatory but is a divine right. Discrimination Against Poor Women Is Not just A By-product of Underdevelopment: It is difficult to compare the condition and position of women between developing countries as a way of measuring their material and nonmaterial. deprivation. The reason is that there is a dearth of genderbased data which has to do with the social invisibility of women 's work. As a first approximation, a women's status index has been developed 27 for 114 developing countries which combines the

The State of World Rural Poverty – An Equiry into its Causes and Consequences by Idriss Jazairy et al.


following proxy indicators: material mortality, adult literacy, primary and secondary enrolment rate, role in labour force, female/male wage ratio, headship of household, and the use of contraceptives (Annex 1). To be complete, this index should also have included some such elements as an assessment of participation in decision-making or ownership of assets. Comparable information on these, however, is still scanty. According to the methodology devised, the higher the status of women, the closer the value of the index is to one. Comparing rankings on this basis and on the basis of GNP per capita shows there is no obvious correlation between the relative position of women and men and GNP per capita. In fact, Tanzania and Mozambique, while among the poorest countries, are among those who score the highest relatively in terms of women's status. How can one explain that women, who account for 35-40% of GNP, have their access to assets limited to 10%? How can one explain that while women in Africa account for 70-80% of food production, four out of five do not see an agricultural extension officer even once a year and that the overwhelming majority of such staff are male? Why is it that female small-holders or women in homesteads get 10 times less credit funds that their male counterparts? How is it that only 3% of women farmers use fertilizer and less than 5% modem irrigation when a mere increase of 15% of women's productivity could eliminate the scourge of famine from Africa? This is unfair and does not even make sense either in terms of needs or of economic effectiveness. The fact that a number of destitute women are likely to belong to tile poorest fifth of humanity, which accounts for 1.4% of world GNP, as against the richest fifth which receives a full 82.7%, only gives the beginning of an answer. The reality is that poor women in the developing world are -up against a triple handicap, because:


?? their male counterparts of course, they are poor; like ?? are women and consequently suffer from cultural and policy they biases which undervalue their contribution to development and prevent them from increasing their productivity and because on average, one in four households, one in three in Africa, is headed by a woman; ?? have to shoulder the full burden of reproductive and productive they functions without being recognized as having a corresponding role at the community level. This is seen as the preserve of men. Thus, women are disenfranchised three times over. By virtue of their being poor, of being women and of being de facto heads of households. Migration to urban areas as a result of a push factor form the lack of opportunities or of the insecurity of the countryside is an aggravating factor. It leads to further impoverishment and family break-ups and to the further feminisation of poverty. The immediate impact of conflict is also to make thin s worse for poor women in view of their reduced mobility and of the migration or death of their menfolk. Thus in Rwanda, 70% of households are now headed by women. They are struggling unaided to provide a livelihood for their families. It is also women and children today that constitute 80% of the world's refugees as stressed iii the Beijing Declaration. These multiple handicaps confronting women can be tamed into multiple opportunities for women of course, but also for their household,,,, the community and future generations. The required social alchemy calls for an overhaul of conceptual tools for assessing the role of poor women and for the fine-tuning gender sensitive programme strategies.


Discrimination Against Women Which Leads to Undervaluing Their Contribution to Society is the Result of Peoples Attitudes From a flowchart on strengthening the role of poor rural/urban women.(Annex II), one can infer the following: First, the time has come to shed the welfarist 'bleeding heart' approach invoking vulnerability and helplessness of poor women as if it were something that was biologically determined. Not that welfare is irrelevant. Life expectancy continues to 'be lower for women than for men in many developing countries. Infant mortality in Ethiopia is nearly 20 times as high as in the industrialized world. Only one third of women in the South are literate as against half the men. Household food security itself remains a half empty shell as the female members growth is stunted. from infancy through malnourishment and malnutrition. What has to be shed, however, are the social constructs which overemphasize the reproductive role of women with their attendant social needs at the expense of their effective role in production and of the role in decision-making they can.-legitimately aspire to. For these constructs are but an expression of biases aimed at perpetuating the subjection of women. Likewise women are not victims or vulnerable because they do not have the capacity to protect themselves. It is the social setting in which they find themselves which, through suppressing them or placing them a subordinate position or by making them a target of violence, renders them vulnerable, turns them into victims or rather survivors". What one needs to address is not the vulnerability of poor women through additional protection but the social processes which single out women in exposure to risk.


Second, it is high time to look at releasing the potential of poor women as economic and social agents in order to help them out of the poverty trap and not just to concentrate on their plight as targets of welfare. Women hold central positions in society and in the economy even if these often go unrecognized. Not only are they the key link between the present and the future, but also between production and consumption, between the present and the future, but also between production and consumption, between savings and investment and between improved -living conditions and environmental preservation. Sixty million Indian households below the poverty line are dependent on women's contribution. There are many similar cases across Africa which has the highest percentage of female headed households in the world. Across the developing world, the breakdown of traditional solidarity systems and the nuclearisation of the family at a time of state retrenchment brings out in a crude light the role of women as crucial food providers. Removing Materials and Institutional Obstacles to Women's Empowerment The institutional obstacles were placed by male-dominated societies in the path of women's empowerment, itself an expression in need of being de-sloganised by defining it in terms of equality of access to resources, position and power. Enabling poor women to achieve their full potential means changing traditions that prevent them from owning land, from having power of attorney Or doing away with traditions that uphold wide inheritance. It means giving poor women access to education, extension, technology, training, employment or self-employment. It implies giving them access to credit which may provide the economic opportunities and authority they have been denied.


Indeed, the Beijing Declaration calls on bilateral and multilateral institutions to support financial schemes that serve low-income smallscale and micro-scale women entrepreneurs. The micro-credit Summit scheduled for 2-4 February 1997, proposes to do just that. The hype with which it is being launched has led some to fear that there might be a switch in focus from innovation to public relations. This may be one pitfall. It is clear that credit is only one of the avenues to be followed to address female poverty, But it is a central one. In the light of demonstrated performance, it is patronizing to claim, as stated recently, that the poorest women cannot avail themselves of credit and that it is only the World Bank ideology which sees them as "budding entrepreneurs". Group-based lending accompanied. by an emphasis on outreach, awareness promotion and training have contributed to setting up viable credit schemes for the poorest women as well as the less poor in all parts of the world. By helping them to earn income outside the home, it has tended to enhance their status within their household and neighbourhood. A gender approach to credit is also one which deters men from confiscating the income that women derive from it. One could be led into another pitfall here, however, if one takes, say, the Grameen Bank blueprint and runs with it to address any situation where the lack of credit turns out to be the key constraint for poor women, or where credit availability is not even the problem. There is a variety of ways of providing beneficial services to poor women, from rotating savings and credit association to schemes where retail credit activities are run by local groups while the wholesale function is handled. by a bank or to banks for the poor. Their main common features are that they are home grown that they are tailormade to meet the specific needs of their low income female clientele and that they are not durably dependent on subsidies.


Changing attitudes to enhance social harmony towards a crossgender approach It should be clear by now that welfare and economic approaches are not sufficient to challenge gender-based discrimination and that what has to be addressed is the dysfunctioning of society itself. This calls for a cross-gender approach. It has since come to be recognized, of course, that establishing the right balance between the productive and the reproductive role of women could only be achieved through obtaining men's acceptance of a fairer distribution of gender roles. This is the Gender-and Development (GAD) approach which paved the way for cross-gender approaches. It was the 1992 Summit on the Economic Advancement of Rural Women and later the Beijing, Conference, however, that addressed gender in the broader context of societal dysfunctionng. This analysis proceeds from the recognition of the fact that poverty is not only about women's material deprivation. The problem is not just about unbalanced division of labour between poor men and women it also encompasses non material destitution resulting from women's inability to challenge their subordinate status, to control their own life and to participate in community decisions. Social, economic and institutional changes interacting on another can be made to reverse current processes leading to the impoverishment of women. This not just a development but a cross-gender challenge. It is not therefore simply a GAD issue. What is called for is a Gender in Society approach as a necessary entry point into national policies as well as programme and project strategies. It cans for further study and action research into the linkage between poverty, gender discrimination and governance at the household, community and country levels. This approach applies not only in peace-time, but in


conflict situations where civilian, and in particular women whose protection used to be a key aim of combatants, are becoming fair game. The challenge facing cross-gender approach in this case has to do with the dilution of traditional male values as well. Why is it that masculinity, which used to be about courage chivalry and the defence of the community is now tantamount to cowardice and tearing communities apart? The picture provided by the conflict in Sierra Leone or Liberia may offer the beginning of an answer. The resort to violence is seen by the idle youth brought up in street culture as the affirmation of manhood because it is force, disconnected from traditional values. Ultimately, the challenge of cross-gender approach is to claim, through training the youth in particular, the authentic values of womanhood as well as of manhood in each culture. Sometimes culture itself is invoked as an obstacle to gender equality. While culture and tradition should remain the basis for any sustainable cross gender approach, neither are written in stone. They evolve as do societies themselves. The challenge therefore is to seek, through research and dialogue, those entry points that do exist in any culture or tradition to promote gender equality and build from these. Surely this and not the insensitive attempt to impose an alien gender blueprint is the ultimate challenges to cross-gender approaches. Translating a cross-gender approach into the field reality of Africa calls for the use of Gender-in-Society (GIS) tools to devise, monitor and evaluate gender - sensitive programmes Guided by this declaration, the international consortium of development NGOS, ACORD recently carried out a review of the gender impact of its programmes in the light of the conceptual tools that I


have just outlined28. It was relatively easy to assess the progress achieved in terms of increased welfare and satisfaction of basic needs. Less so for participation. Thus, reported women's attendance in mixed group activities could be deceptive either because they were too overawed to talk or because they attended only to be told. by men to fulfil menial tasks. The degree of control of women over their lives was even harder to assess as in some cases men were simply using women as fronts to access credit funds. ACORD has also drawn humbling lessons about the necessity of demonstrating added sensitivity to the cultural context. Thus the highly prized notion of autonomy, as we saw it, was not shared by the widows we were trying to help in Rwanda as they were competing to find husbands after the genocide reduced the number of eligible men. Carry out a base-line study as to marriage practices of different communities in a multi-ethnic society for its part proved to be useful in programme design. As cultural biases have often been entrenched over centuries and while women become aware that t are instrumentalised by their menfolks, they may choose a timepath to meet their practical and strategic needs which differs from ours. They are better aware of the degree of resilience they can expect from society and from their partners and their choice must therefore be respected. Advancing the position of women also involves promoting dialogue between men and women rather than setting the stage for them for a pitched battle. Where in one of our programme, men would rather listen to women, groups were split on a gender basis on a given them,

The following examples are taken from The Final Report to the Board of the Gender Research Project. Angela Hadjipateras, May 1996, commissioned by ACORD’s Research and Policy Programme (RAPP).


say health. Comparing outcomes when groups reconvened brought out many suggestions by women that the men had not thought about. Promoting dialogue does not however mean playing down gender impact for the sake of consensus building. It is not useful, more generally in any development programme to seek to redress the exclusion of women by attempting to exclude men, even if this means occasionally opening women’s groups to the participation of men. Promoting exchange visits and role models often yielded positive results. Thus a woman adult literacy teacher in a programme in Tchad included her illiterate husband in her class, triggering the attendance of a large number of other men. This reversal of conventional roles radically changed perceptions of women’s capacities in the whole community. ACORD and its member organizations such as the Oxfam Network are now better equipped through gender disaggregated baseline surveys and through our fumbling for gender-sensitive indicators and data to measure the differential impact of programme activities of men and women’s status in the home and in society. Conclusion: Through participatory field M & E involving women as well as men, one needs better to learn and understand the specific institutions, traditions and practices of each group of partners we work with. Only from this starting point, can one offer adequate gender sensitive responses in social as well as economic terms. The fact remains, that no society today can afford durably to neglect the needs, rights aspirations and contributions of half of its population. Or get away with it, as education progresses and as communications


become global. For both reach out to the hearts and minds of the Youth, thereby undermining the boundless but hopefully receding empire of patriarchy and oppression whether by race, creed or gender. For any institution whose grip on reality is based on force and arrogance, the Youth are the problem. For those who have vision, for those who believe that humility is the threshold of insight, the Youth are the solution, the irresistible force that will break open the prisons that constrain the mind of the oppressor and the body of the oppressed.


Women’s Status index and GNP per capita rank Order by country, mid 1980s
Country Afghanistan Ethiopia Yemen (Former Yemen AR) Pakistan Somalia Oman Bangladesh Mali Chad Nigeria Sudan, The Turusis Guinea Mauritiaus Yemen (Former Yemen PDR) Benin Zaire Bhutan Ghana Maldives Equatorial Guinea Zambia Algeria Burkina Faso Morocco Djibouti Sierra Leone Nepal Niger, The Gualemala Liberia Haiti Guinea-Bissau Iran, Islamic Republic of Burundi Indonesia Women’s status index Value Rank from lowest 0.222 1 0.227 2 0.233 3 0.272 4 0.251 5 0.295 6 0.296 7 0.298 8 0.304 9 0.334 10 0.338 11 0.347 12 0.351 13 0.372 14 0.375 15 0.379 16 0.394 17 0.403 18 0.406 19 0.406 20 0.425 21 0.425 22 0.439 23 0.447 24 0.448 25 0.448 26 0.449 27 0.452 28 0.457 29 0.465 30 0.472 31 0.474 32 0.475 33 0.478 34 0.478 35 0.482 36 1988 GNP Per capital Rank from lowest 3 2 54 29 6 112 9 18 4 23 47 81 43 48 42 34 7 13 35 37 36 23 101 17 64 41 24 12 25 68 46 32 15 87 20 44 Difference In rank -2 0 -51 -25 -1 -106 -2 -10 -5 -12 -36 -69 -30 -34 -27 -18 10 5 -16 -17 -15 -1 -78 7 -39 -15 3 16 4 -38 -15 0 18 -53 15 -8


Country Malawi Syrian Arab Republic Papua New guinea Comoros, The India Lesotho Egypt Arab Republic Cameroon Bolivia Iraq Angola Myanmar Cote d’Lvoire Senegal Central African Republic Sao Tome and Principe Rwanda Paraquay Hundurus Mada gascar Gambia, The Nicaragua Botswana Dominican Republic Kenya Congo, The Uganda Berlize Cape Verde Mozambuque Togo Jordan Western Samox Swaziland Fiji Peru Lao, Peoples Democratic Rep. Ecuador

Women’s status index Value Rank from lowest 0.485 37 0.485 39 0.486 40 0.490 41 0.491 42 0.492 43 0.493 44 0.493 45 0.494 46 0.498 47 0.501 48 0.503 49 0.505 50 0.508 51 0.510 52 0.516 53 0.517 54 0.520 55 0.521 56 0.521 57 0.527 58 0.529 59 0.529 60 0.531 61 0.533 62 0.534 63 0.537 64 0.543 65 0.547 66 0.550 67 0.557 68 0.562 68 0.570 69 0.572 70 0.576 71 0.533 72 0.596 0.599 73 74

1988 GNP Per capital Rank from lowest 8 93 62 45 25 40 58 73 51 80 50 19 61 57 33 49 26 77 67 14 16 65 74 60 30 69 21 88 59 1 31 85 55 63 90 83 11 76

Difference In rank 29 -55 -23 -5 13 2 -15 -29 -6 -34 -3 29 -12 -7 18 3 27 -23 -12 42 41 -7 -15 0 31 -7 42 -24 6 65 36 -17 14 7 -19 -11 62 -2


Country Tonga Gabon Seychelles, The Tanzania Suriname El Salvado Guyana Brazil Chile Zimbabwe Turkey Colombia Mexico Mauritius Philippines, The Panama Viet Nam Uruguay Veneniela Solomon Island Grenada Antigua and Barbuds Sri Lanka St Christopher and Nevis Lebanon Corts Rica Malaysia St Lucia Argentina St. Vincent and the Greensdines Trirudad and Tobago Dominica Barbados Cyprus Korea, Democratic Peoples Rep Thailand Malta Korea, Republic of Jamaica Cuba China

Women’s status index Value Rank from lowest 0.601 75 0.605 76 0.611 77 0.617 78 0.620 79 0.636 80 0.643 81 0.644 82 0.645 83 0.645 84 0.645 85 0.645 86 0.649 87 0.656 88 0.659 89 0.661 90 0.663 91 0.669 92 0.672 93 0.675 94 0.632 95 0.664 90 0.684 97 0.639 98 0.672 99 0.694 100 0.695 101 0.699 102 0.705 103 0.710 104 0.716 105 0.723 106 0.752 107 0.740 108 0.744 109 0.750 110 0.775 111 0.777 112 0.799 113 0.805 114 0.825 115

1988 GNP Per capital Rank from lowest 66 105 111 5 102 70 39 100 69 56 52 75 96 97 53 77 10 103 107 52 95 110 35 105 84 94 95 91 102 76 105 92 114 115 71 72 113 109 75 56 27

Difference In rank 9 -30 -34 73 -23 10 42 -18 -6 25 3 8 -9 -9 36 -9 -1 -11 -14 42 0 -14 59 -7 15 6 3 11 -1 25 -3 14 -7 -7 38 38 -2 3 38 28 85

(Source: the State of Rural Poverty – Idriss Jazairy et al. N.Y. University Press 1992)


Making Gender Policies: Challenges of a Cross-Gender Approach:
by Kpegba Dzotsi29 Between the 14th and 18th February, there will be a special conference of the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) on the theme Towards Partnership Between Men and Women in Politics. This conference aim at examining the benefits of a new political contract based on partnership to the entire society. For example, it is required that government delegations taking part in this meeting should be evenly composed. According to the organisers of this parliamentary forum the concept of democracy would not achieve any concrete results, unless political orientations and national legislations are commonly adopted by men and women, taking into consideration equity in the interest and specific talents of both components of the population. If we all admit that in the modern era, there is no better political system other than democracy to ensure good governance, with equity in protecting the interest of everyone and considering gender related matters as strategic components of sustainable development, then we duly realise the significance of this initiative. As our countries are passing through the period of transition from civil or military dictatorship towards the rule of law, it is fundamental and indeed indispensable to seek to build an institutional framework of all

Depute/ Secretataire General de IUTD, Togo.


existing structures that are involved in the promotion and development of women. This is where a re-evaluation of the parliamentary institution becomes important. While there is need to have a powerful state, there is also need to maintain a clear separation of powers. Parliamentarians whose paramount responsibility is to regulate government activity have a unique role to play in the new society we all aspire to. It is true the substantial progress has been made on the issue of women’s rights through laws and regulations. But looking deeper and more carefully into these instruments (constitutions that make provisions for equality of the two sexes, family and persons code), it would be easily observed that these instruments have left so many loopholes and traps here and there that do not facilitate the achievement of the objectives set by those laws. The ratification of these instruments fall squarely on the National Assembly. The effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Cairo Plan of Action on population and development call for adequate laws that will take into account the realities (particularly economic realities) of each country. In order to address the problems of illiteracy among women, education for young girls, child health and poverty that is gradually assuming some female perspectives everyday, there is need to have a strong political will in the financial policy (commonly called the state budget), passed at the National Assembly, and which forms the fundamental basis for every government activity. This is necessary because it has been observed that members of parliament pass financial bills mindless of the implications, as we can see in the cases where military expenditures, for example, increases considerably every year whereas the social responsibility (education, health and the


advancement of women) is relegated to a second place). Access by women to credit should be clearly addressed to avoid the speculations and exploitation which further worsen their situation. On the other hand, we should note that many men, even though present in their homes, are not able to assume their responsibility. As a result, a considerable number of women have by circumstances become the heads of families without the legal rights attached to it. The need to have a larger number of women at the parliament is therefore indispensable. We must encourage and support the election of women at all levels of society (municipal councils, national assemblies). We must sensitize men to accept this change in our society. For this to succeed, we need to place particular emphasis on building partnership and complementality so that they (men) would not see women as usurpers. Organisation and aid at the informal level is not intended to address just the issues of rural exodus and juvenile delinquency that constitute an impediment to the education of the young girl, but above all to support and consolidate the family which is the ideal framework and the most appropriate structure for educating our children. The responsibility of changing the mentalities of young girls need to start at the level of the family. We, therefore, must place special emphasis on the protection of the family in all our activities in the society.


It is true that culture and tradition related problems also exist in large proportions in our environment, but for me, I am of the opinion that apart from judicial modalities for resolving these problems, we can also address them through education, training, information and sensitization of both men and women. We are leaders and we represent in this forum examples and role models, talking about themselves. It is a contribution, with no doubt, to the change of mentalities and behaviour in our circles so that we can at least undertake to be actively and practically involved and always in support of the people. For this reason, it necessary to point out that women involved in this process need to adopt new strategies. If we are seeking for leadership roles just to replace men or to aggravate the bad situation we are in, then I think that it would be more useful for us to continue to stay at home and at least to take care of the upbringing of our children so as to make them better citizens. In the case of education a review of school curriculum and that of the universities is essential. These programmes must compulsorily include civic education, with emphasis on a culture of peace, rule of law and equality of both sexes. Many school curriculum would have to be revised and corrected to eliminate the stereotypes for the young girl. But above all, it is at birth that we need to start inculcating gender issues into our children. Even if our children love playing with baby toys, we should develop the habit of giving them toy tractors and electronic games if we would want them to later become scientists and architects.


If we would want to eliminate poverty so as to facilities and accelerate the improvement and rehabilitation of women, we must start to mobilise towards pure and simple reduction of armed forces in our countries. Few armies in Africa are practically operational today, whatever may be their strength and equipment at their disposal. That is why they resort their energies against the civil society which pays every cost for their maintenance. For me, I strongly believe that a well structured, well trained and adequately equipped para-military forces and police can sufficiently provide security for people and property in our countries. In this way, the army, internal and inter-state conflicts would cease to exist in Africa. But in order to arrive at that point, we must work towards placing an embargo on arms on the whole continent. I am convinced that we must have taken a very giant step forward if this idea is implemented. As we observed during the three days of our discussions and exchange of ideas, the challenge to overcome is considerably enormous and the end of the tunnel very far away. We must act swiftly and with pride, like wounded lionesses, to give ourselves a helping hand in order to take our destiny into our hands. In this regard, we must reject the idea that you stay there, I will develop you and become more aggressive, even at the risk of being offensive sometimes. Men are our children, our husbands, our brothers and our partners. It is therefore together with them that we need to build the new world based on peace, dialogue, complementality, mutual understanding in the elimination of all forms of discrimination and at all levels.


We are women and proud to be women. As women, who account for more than half of the populations of our countries, we refuse to be cut off in the development of our dear Africa, still lagging behind after 30 years of independence for most of the states. My dear sisters, our cause is noble, but victory is certain at the end of the struggle and sacrifices. Together, united and in solidarity, we will succeed.


Professionalism & Social Obligations: Balancing the Scale
by Marcelle Richard It gives me great pleasure to be chosen in my capacity as an African woman, and head of an institution, to take part in this high level meeting. The main theme raises the problem of how to skillfully strike a balance between the competing demands on an African woman with family life and the attendant social obligations and constraints imposed on her by society and her personal desires of attaining excellence in her professional life. This is necessary if we would like to participate at all levels of decision-making concerning the living conditions in our respective countries. The ultimate aim of this meeting is to bridge the gap between the generation of African women leaders who are about to leave the active stage of political participation and leadership and that of the younger generation of women who would need to be prepared to assume these roles and would be confronted with the attendant challenges in the 21st century. As the 20th century comes to an end, one can sadly say that Africa has been completely marginalised both economically and socially. However, our gathering here is an indication that African women together with our male counterparts are determined to fully participate and make Africa relevant in the globalization process. Our participation in the globalization process can only be effective and productive if we are able to produce a generation of African women prepared and ready to face several challenges.


The first and certainly the most important, will be to help the children from our different countries to have access to education which will be at a level with that received by all children of other countries worldwide. This education would yield the following results: ?? acquisition of globalisation; relevant knowledge about the dynamic of

?? easier access to good jobs as members of the working class; ?? acquisition of knowledge necessary for our citizens of tomorrow to be able to take certain decisions. For me personally and professionally, one such issue that will remain central to our destiny in Africa tomorrow is the issue of family health and population growth. It can never be overemphasized that the economic and social development on our continent cannot take effect without active competition of the African woman to which our governments must give enough chance as is given to men to attain the highest educational level. This also includes the pursuance of an aggressive policy tom make of them professional in various aspects through carefully designed school curriculum and university programmes. It is with much effort that I make this remark and it would be necessary that our governments, our law makers, our doctors, midwives and social workers help the African woman to be the master of her reproductive capabilities in order to be able to sustainably play their nature imposed role of child bearing.


After this introduction to some common challenges, let me go back to the main theme of my expose. A topic that you willingly entrusted to me “Professionalism and Social Obligations”. Please permit me to rather take an experiential approach. I would start by saying that for me, the ownership and management of a business goes beyond just work and profession in the first place. Between the firm and the entrepreneur, a very tight and affectionate link is created. The firm becomes like a child after birth. It must grow, develop and prosper. In analytical terms, this is what can be said of a firm one sets up. The enterprise in return gives you the owner: ?? trustworthiness; ?? material welfare for you and your family; ?? allows for the creation of jobs; it ?? brings joy to the unemployed who would be duly employed. This it therefore gives you the feeling of participation in the development of your country. We should however note that at every stage of the business enumerated above, you are confronted with peculiar challenges and obligations which you have to reconcile with the rest of the society or at least your immediate society. "Keeping in line with regards to the subject of my expose, i.e. professionalism and social obligations", I would therefore try to restrict myself to the challenges linked with some of the financial and administrative aspects. These challenges are great especially in


Africa where the social aspect of managing firms is as important and delicate for the African woman as it is, in my own opinion, for the African man too. Looking at our cultural backgrounds, it seen-Ls in the African society, the establishment or creation of structures such as businesses has been the preserve of men. It is common knowledge that in some societies and in many cases in Africa, even if girls are allowed to go to school at some times, their parents later withdrew them, thus destroying their chances of individual development and increasing the disparity between boys and girls. It is sad to note that in some cases parents prefer to marry out or "trade out" their daughters, sometimes as 2nd, 3rd or 4th wife, rather than to allow them to pursue there studies. This is because most people believe that a woman can only become successful through marriage. While it could happen that the woman may fail in her marriage and that this problem has some impact on her life generally, this is also the time when some women find the strength and the courage to become productive to and by themselves. The woman, thus enters the business world in trying to meet her material needs and even for the needs of the whole family. For this woman, the following are indispensable for her to succeed: ?? Improving her basic education ?? preparation for management (introduction to computer for accounting and management control) all of which will be necessary and instrumental for her to launch into success in her professional life.


In any case, for you to set up a business, you require the qualities of a fighter. I often had to pity myself while I had to wait among a number of men (more often than not being the only woman) in the executive director's or minister's waiting room in my country. The mere presence of a woman in such places quickly raises the suspicion by the men who, like yourself, are waiting to be attended to. From the moment your presence becomes usual and your credentials are established, you would. be considered with a modicum of respect. At best, some gender references would be made about you wondering why you have bothered to meddle in such an affair. However, the formative stage of a business is not filled with difficulties alone. There could. also be some favourable surprises too. The cases I am going to share with you are very crucial in the understanding and appreciation of the entire experience I am sharing with you.. The Bank Manager, who granted me the loan to open my clinic surprised me. When he said, to quote him "I have confidence in a woman who is capable of taking risks, she is very often more responsible than the men in similar situations. I am sure she knows how to honour and respect her deadlines". And true to his word, I got a second loan after I had finished paving the first one. In my case I was very lucky, my husband, was the first to give me his blessings. My husband has been there and continues to be there by my side. He has never lacked understanding for me; anytime I needed encouragement he was there. He helped me dissipate all my anxieties which were very frequent from the start. Imagine that this was the very first maternity clinic to be set up and run in Mali and you would understand the arduous task involved. My husband completely took up certain steps. He is familiar with and understands intricacies of


administration and this facilitated the openings of certain doors. The Minister of Health at that time, a woman, was proud to see a fellow woman take the initiative to open the first clinic in Mali. This was a source of encouragement and also made things easy as much as possible for me. As a female director of a firm, a woman must be able to reconcile her professional family and social life and be able to have a balanced life. Let us consider first of all a woman who is a director of a firm, who has to marry professional and family life. The running of the home would become of primary importance to supercede that of the firm. Each one at home would have daily chores to take up. She needs the husband's cooperation and understanding in this regard. The woman would need the help of all in the family, the children and grand children and even domestic help. Each person's task will be clearly defined, which is of primary importance so that the woman and the entire family takes shape. The woman director would continue to be for her husband: charming, elegant and seductive. As time goes on it is hardly easy to keep one's husband. I am sure that the men here present know what I mean and would agree with me. The children must not lack motherly care despite their mother's occupation: ?? children have the right to lots of attention the ?? supervision of their homework ?? the grown ups, their mother must be available at any time that for they need her help. Then also she must pay attention to all the problems and must know how to resolve issues with them, her being available must be total


The female director must continue to entertain friends and accept and give invitations of all kinds, and also meet with friends. She must be in a harmonious relationship with her husband and children when it comes to entertainment, cinema, theater, holiday or vacation periods. The woman director should not be exempt from taking part in family matters. On the other hand, it would be requested of her despite her work load as of any other woman from family member-s to find time to attend baptisms, marriages, funerals, association meetings. Even though she would not be able to take part in all these ceremonies, she could be represented and if the need arises send a parcel because even among the other women present, her absence from social gatherings would be felt and criticized. I may certainly not be able to exhaust all the obligations which the woman must assume despite her busy working schedule in this presentation. My general advice to all of us here is that no matter the challenges, obstacles and obligations, being a woman is not a weakness. In my opinion, I do not see myself otherwise, but as a human being. And I strongly believe that is the crux of the matter. It is true that I have spoken about the 'seductive' aspects of a woman and the need for her to be conscious of her looks. I also spoke of the attitudes of men who are in the same professions too, but faced with different problems from the, ones we may face. I spoke of children who are not able to go to school, sick people who are not able to receive medical attentions, women who die during delivery. As professionals, we are human beings in the first place and we need to find solutions to these problems. These are not issues of men or women, but of human beings.


We must transcend the men-women rift. It is true that we have our differences and we interpret some situations differently, but these differences are part of our richness, and put together, the differences make us complete human beings. Finally, let me wish all of you, men and women present at this meeting, taking place in the lst month of 1997, particularly our younger generation of African women, happiness, good health and success. Dear younger generation of Africans, our beloved children, please bear in mind that we expect that you will be able to overcome most of the fundamental challenges confronting Africa, and above all to move the continent to her rightful position in the concert of nations. Be of courage and good luck.


Professionalism & Social Obligations: Balancing the Scale
by Angela Ofori-Atta 30 I am a clinical psychologist and I teach at the University of Ghana, Legon. I also attend to patients, I am a mother and a wife and I am also into a number of other things, so much so that I am not always in balance. Some things get done at the very last minute. So, I shall be drawing on my personal experience in my short presentation here today. I feel deeply honoured to speak before big sisters who have done it all before and have done it their way. Professionalism, as I see it, consists of many different things which may be specific to our individual fields of endeavour. For instance, professionalism in my field includes being punctual, being conversant with new development and new information in my practice, being continually qualified to talk about the issues I wish to talk about or deal with. Professionalism also means keeping confidentiality of my clients; it means respecting the rights of the people that I deal with. For someone in law enforcement, it might be other things, but being a professional person goes beyond being well qualified, it includes and involves knowing what is expected of you. Professionalism sometimes goes against the social expectations and obligations of our social milieu. The social obligations that we have consist of several things. Two that are important to me right now are the roles that we play. We are expected to play the role of the mother, wife, traditional leader or spokesperson. We are also supposed to acknowledge our social

Clinical Psychologist, University of Ghana, Legon.


obligations in our attitude. As women, we are expected to, among other things, be respectful, humble and kind. Some of these expectations and social obligations constitute the sources of our imbalance. These behavioural expectations more often than not conflict with the very basis and essence of our professionalism. For instance, as a woman, you are not expected to speak loudly in public and you are not expected to conflict with people publicly and you are not expected to point out issue publicly when people go wrong publicly. In all, you are not expected to make anybody around you uncomfortable. However, if your professionalism must come to the fore, you will need to go against the grain of all these expectations. There are many cases around us in our societies, where we see things being done improperly, be it people's rights being trampled upon, people not doing their jobs properly, and we need to intervene in our professional capacities, but for fear of conventions or practices that constitute our social obligations we refrain from acting or speaking. If the major goal is to meet social obligations, then we need to be "traditionally" quiet, kind and nice about such unwholesome practices. However, if we are going to meet our professional obligations, then we have to speak out. In consequence, we may find ourselves conflicting with the people around us and we are not going to be in balance. The second source of imbalance for us is letting gender-related insults slide. Sometimes, the comments are as benign as suggesting that certain practices are typical of women. There might be other comments which are not so benign around you which might make you feel rather uncomfortable. A typical example is the common place derogatory comment and generalization about all women using their trumps to move up the ladder. Such comments are degrading and should not be allowed to slide simply because we do not want to fight or because it is not womanlike to do so. This is a constant source of harassment and imbalance. Even if we do not want to be drawn into


the gender battle; and we do not want to be feminist and we do not want to be thought of as a militant, we will be doing ourselves a grave injustice and will remain harassed because We have not responded to the insult and we will be in constant imbalance with ourselves. Thirdly, in our relationships, both in our primary relationship with our lovers spouses our brothers and uncles, we, have a tendency to constantly hold back our ability and our capacity mainly because we are afraid of being so successful or being pointed at, or afraid of being very lonely up there (and it is very lonely for us up there because there are not enough of us.) But then, if we get up there, and if we did not hold back and are unafraid to get there and if a lot of us do get there, it would not be so lonely. So, we are constantly juggling with what "they" or "he" will feel about our success. We are afraid that they might be unwilling to share the platform with us. Faced with this dilemma we must try and transfer the following poses, is it your social obligation to always be one step behind your husband and mainly to complement him? Can I be comfortable-and balanced by having platform to ourselves? should he not learn to love me as a sister or a wife who is doing really well? Are we interpreting on social obligations correctly? Are we obliged to constantly make men feel good about themselves? Where is our obligation to ourselves also and to our professionalism? These are some knotty questions we need to grapple with. There is also the question of our attitude to work place tradition. If you are the only woman in the Boardroom, and you know gender balance is possible and you say nothing about this and you do not even notice that you are the only woman on board, that is a source of imbalance. When real issues come up and you attempt to assert yourself, it is not unusual to get labelled. Ultimately, you will be forced -to fight alone. It is then you will realize that there is force in numbers. That is an issue that needs to be addressed, not just in the boardroom but at other levels


of the Organisation ladder. I will illustrate with a few examples. For instance, you are a director of passports or you are at the middle level of management for passports and you find that, in the legislation, a man has to sign a woman's form or even a loan or land document. If we are in professional positions, we should be the first person to see and point out the anomaly and the injustice of such a provision. We should be able to say to our male colleagues "I am a woman and I am your colleague at -work and I am just as qualified as you, but when I need land why must a man sign for me? That, for me, is part of being professional and it is a social obligation as well. There are other insidious practices especially in the work place that we may not be immediately conscious of as women. To illustrate, there are times when decisions are taken without our legitimate administrative input and involvement even within our official jurisdiction. When such occurs, It is important that we endeavour to point out the inappropriateness of such practice and point out the overall consequence of such a breach of due administrative process and procedure. To do otherwise is analogous to allowing the game to be played in another field while you are left waiting for all the players to come to your presumed field. It is our social obligation and our professional responsibility to restore balance. We must know where the game is being played and ensure that we are part of it. We do not have to think that we are being militant or combative when we do this. We are just doing what we need to do to maintain our professional balance. In maintaining balance and reducing the stress on ourselves, we need to be part of that driving force that says the firm is going this way or the NGO is going that way; and whatever we represent, we are part of it and we have lent our voice to it.


What I have mentioned. above may be described as negligence. It is almost pardonable but not really excusable. There are other really bad practices. Some of such practices are prevalent in medicine especially as it affects women's health issues. Again, drawing on my field, experience in the Northern part of Ghana, a woman needs permission from either her husband or from her family head to go to hospital, for certain or all medical procedures to be done on her own body. This has severe consequences for the woman. I will illustrate the implication of such a practice with a case example. A woman had three spontaneous abortions and the doctor advised against further pregnancies as the consequence may be fatal. The doctor recommended that the woman's womb be tied. The woman in question agreed, the woman's mother agreed but the doctor insisted on the husband's permission before the operation. The husband was invited and he simply refused to honour the invitation and the necessary operation was not carried out. Three months later, the woman became pregnant and died in the process. The doctor's social obligation was allowed to outweigh his professional obligations. It is doubly sad that a woman who needs to undergo a medical procedure is requested to bring her husband. Yet, there is no law to this effect but it happens and we allow it. Another example is the sort of counselling that is given to young married couples. In most cases, our older sisters are seen to perpetuate the status-quo by simply dismissing fundamental grievances as typical of men. The usual dialogue/advice bothers on whether the man is feeding the children, giving enough money, and paying school fees. If he is doing that, then one is strongly admonished to close her eyes to the fact that he might, through his conduct, bring AIDS home to the woman. She is usually advised to forget that he insults her so that she has no self-confidence, forget the fact that he is actually the most despicable person she could be partner to. Our older women are wont to advise us that marriage is a long process and we need to be patient.


If we know that fundamental structures in marriage are being tampered with even traditionally and we do not say so I believe we are maintaining a state of imbalance. Christian counsellors, older traditional people in the village, and even ourselves promote and accept such mind-set and tutelage. Having dwelt on the sources of imbalance, what then are the sources of balance for us. Work expands to fill the time allotted it. The more time you give to work, the more time you need to do it. Sometimes, to maintain balance, I personally resort to dealing with the fundamentals conceptually. In my case, I tend to conceptualize my children as projects. f see my 3 year old kid as a project and the 1 year old as a project that I have to nurture to maturity. I also think of work as a project and decide that what has to be done absolutely will be done now. Thereafter, I take a long-term perspective of these projects and allot maturity time to each of them. For instance at the moment, I merely seek to be an average professor for the next five years. This is to allow my other projects reach maturity. Thereafter, when those projects have gone through the pipeline and are in school I shall be an excellent professor and there will be no stopping me. Effective response to gender issues is equally important. If you can't say a word, step on the person's toes and that gets them thinking and don't apologize for it. At times, you may blink with a big frown and turn your back to the person. Do something. Remember, gender perspective is not something to be ashamed of. I think it helps the balance.


Professionalism & Social Obligations: Balancing the Scale
by Ms. Katy Diop 31 Going by the figures that have been presented to us in the preceding sessions of this meeting, it can be observed that the number of African women who have access to education is not high, and out of this number, the percentage of professional woman is rather minimal. It, therefore, becomes necessary for us to address ourselves to the challenges that we need to overcome in order to prepare the grounds for a higher number of these women. First of all, I will like to make some preliminary remarks before advancing to the different aspects of the professional and social spheres of the topic, the distinction between which forms the basis of the topic. By social obligations, we refer to the personal, family and community responsibilities as well as professional social. obligations the woman is confronted. with. Mrs. Marcelle Richard presented us with a detailed picture of it. However, it is very crucial to understand that the list is not exhaustive. Mrs. Marcelle Richard based. her presentation on her personal experience, as a professional woman, married and having children. It would be -useful and indeed necessary to extend the parameters to focus on women with professional aptitudes generally without laying emphasis on marital status (single, married, divorced, with or without children) because nowadays, more and more young women are

Regional Representative, ASHOKA Innovators for the Public, Dakar, Senegal.


entering into this position, even though not within the context of the above parameters. Another issue raised in Mrs. Richard's presentation is the manner and tactics adopted by women to manage or in anticipation of obstacles. One more important element in the presentation is time management by professional women, stress and its attendant impact on them, even though this may have not been specifically mentioned by the presenter. In addition, one outstanding peculiarity of professional women is their individual and personal approach to questions relating to work and society. This is due to the existing practice in society that seems to regard work and family problems and their eventual solutions as purely personal and private matters. The searchlight and strategic actions to be taken must seek to allow the correction of these deficiencies, systematise the solutions and seek more often to analyse these issues in this mechanism. In a general sense, one other characteristic of the life of an African professional woman is her relationship with and dependence on the house helps. This forms one of the greatest challenges facing professional women. Here, it is not a matter of theoretical debates, nor the quest for empowerment of women or the management of power. It is a matter of concrete actions to be taken in the interest of their fellow women, commonly called "maid servants". They are the kingpins of the homes for the professional women and could actually positively shape their destinies, contribute to the education of the children of the professional women as well as their own children if they are prepared accordingly.


We will now proceed to tackling in detail the question of separation of professional and social spheres in order to throw more light on the observations made earlier on. Firstly, it can be observed that problems related to the harmonious integration work and social obligations seem not to have any gender considerations. Nevertheless, the consequences on men and women are often different depending on the roles, expectations and gender related social experiences. In effect, these attitudes are that women stay at home, that it is the men that have to go out and work and. that society is better of this way. These phenomena are still very much in existence and do considerably influence social and organizational practices. People - women and men - who go out of these gender related "beaten tracks" and who want to assume other roles face a lot of problems. Mrs. Richard has shown us the number and. diversity of actions that a woman heading a company takes, within the home as well as within the family, community and professional activities. This also goes for all the professional women generally. This may have not been explicit in the presentation of Mrs. Richard., but the fact is that women are confronted with a dilemma; the working world and. culture associated with it expects the woman to take care of the family; but at the same time punishes her because she takes care of the same family! When a professional woman is openly or discretely requested to provide information about her private life, it is purported that one is trying to quantify her family responsibilities in order to be able to tackle them "in case of'. However' it is on the basis of these same responsibilities that she could be disqualified from office, since "she cannot face all these at the same time. If she insists, her official or professional responsibilities could be entrusted to her, but her antagonists would be watching out for the least mistake, no matter how


inconsequential and not relating to cause and effect. If she has any marital, family or social misfortunes, the harmful impacts on her professional activities are immediately drawn. Men also face similar reactions when they try to come out of these beaten tracks and their traditional social roles: that is why it is very difficult for them to avail themselves of policies and regulations about the family (paternity leave, for instance). So, the separation of work and family along gender lines rather draws out obstacles for the woman whilst pretending to be giving them support. Also, this separation does not take into account the legitimate issues about men but maintains their over-identification and their presently questionable role as "bread-winners". We need to go back in history to establish that this separation of work and social activities has never existed in the African agrarian societies and elsewhere in the world, where women played and have continued to play a very important role. The social norm for separation of these spheres was only exacerbated when men, with the development of cities, started to be employed in factories, companies, the public sector, etc. They become the main breadwinners whilst the women stayed at home with the main responsibility of taking care of the family and other members of the community. This social norm and tendency to necessarily separate work and the family came from this division of work. Men as well as women often talk about the difficult and often divisive choice between their careers and their families, but the majority do not address the underlying factor, which is the presumed separation between work outside the home and the family, something that encourages men to consider their career more important while for women, it is their family.


In effect, these gender related roles seem to be accepted, to a larger extent, even subconsciously by every man and woman. Where it is a matter of career or "role of a man", it seems that the tendency for most men is to choose their careers if they have to make a choice. For instance, someone will say "I would like to spend more time with my kids, but if I want to keep them in the best conditions, I will. have to make the same choice as my father and take from the time to spend with them and devote it to my career". In the same vein, a woman who has just had a promotion to a position of responsibility and who has plenty children says to herself that "this is really not reasonable on her part" to accept this position and to want to bring up her children. As more researchers and professionals in this domain have shown in the two instances, the way the woman sees herself, her perception of womanhood and present choices at her disposal makes it that she is obliged to choose the family. As a result, women have difficulties in fully succeeding in their professional activities, whereas, the men too have similar difficulties concerning the family and community. Consequently, work (outside the home), family and other social obligations are often perceived not only as separate elements, but also as antagonistic - a gain or advancement on one side is capable of causing conflicts, and loses on the other. We should reexamine in proper perspective, the presumptions that tend to convince us that success in organization, individual and society is related to the distinction between the professional and family spheres of activities and social obligations by relating them and Establishing bridges between them.


It is, however, important to note that this link is not something that can be easily established just because we wish to or because we had earlier on highlighted the negative consequences of their separation. It is much further than that and it has to do with our attitudes and beliefs in our societies about success, about manhood and about womanhood. The issue of the presumed separation in the private and. non-private affairs of every man and woman is not a matter of a difference but of inequality. Practices, structures and prevailing policies at all levels and in all aspects of the society tend to lend more and more weight in support of the economic aspect as against the private aspect. From this fact, job related issues take precedence above other considerations. Hence, to succeed professionally, is taken to be a major boost of selfesteem and part of success as a person. This is why the attempt to balance these spheres is not an easy task. It is not only a matter of bringing the two together, but that of advancing towards a more equitable society, in which the family, the community, citizens' participation - both male and female in community work and in the civil society are equally appreciated just like paid employment. It is, therefore, a matter of advancing towards a society in which men and women have equal opportunities to realise their dreams within the three instead of the two elements, namely; the family/community, the career and the self.


Appendix I
List of Participants 1. 2. Nana Koiiadu. Agyeman, Rawlings, First Lady of Ghana & President, 31st December Women's Movement, Accra, Ghana. Graca, Machel,. Av. Eduardo Mondiane, 1170, Maputo,. Mozambique, Tel: Tel: 258-1-43-04-30, Fax: 258-1-42-25-95, 49 21 92, E.Mail fdc @ Zebra.uem.mz. Ayodele, Aderinwale, Project Manager, Africa Leadership Forum, 28 Solapost, Sakumono, P. M. B. Sakumono, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 233-27-558-078, Tel/Fax: 233-21-779-333. Oluwatosin, Aderinwale, 28 Solapost, Sakumono, P. M. B. Sakumono, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 233-27-558-078, Tel/Fax: 23321779-333. Elizabeth Q, Akpalu, Consultant, Gender and Development, P.O. Box 6955, Accra-North, Ghana, Tel: 233-21-400755, Fax: 233-21-400948. Marie-Thjrjse, Avemeka, Ministre Charge' de l'Integration de la Femme au Developpement, B.P. 1606 Brazaville, Congo, Tel: 242-837919, 837641; Fax: 242-837951, 242-832040. Adejumoke, Badejo, Highrise Block B, Flat 11, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria, Tel/Fax: 234-1-825287. Stephanie, Baeta Ansah, Managing Director, Home Finance Company, 2nd Floor, Tower Block Pension House, Private Mail





7. 8.


Bag, Accra, Ghana, P. 0. Box 2228, Accra, Tel: 664802, Fax: 664430. 9. Babafemi, Badejo, Senior Political Adviser, UN Political Office for Somalia, P. 0. Box 48246, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel: 254-2622695, Fax: 254-2-622697, E-mail: babafemi.badejo@unep.org. Zaiiiab Hawa, Bangura, Campaign Coordinator, Sierra Leone, 29 Liverpool Street, P. 0. Box 301, Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa, Tel: 232-22-228454, Fax: 231-22-228-896. Eimar, Barr, Deputy Representative, UNICEF, P. 0. Box 5051, Accra-Nortli, Ghana, Tel: 772524, 773147, E-mail: ebarr@ttnicef.org Ama, Benyiwa-Doe, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, P. 0. Box M.84, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 662781 (off), 778074 (res). Christine Churcher, Member of Parliament, Parliament House, Accra, Ghana. Margaret, Clarke-Kwesie, Deputy Minister of Education, Ministry of Education and Member of Parliament, P. 0. Box 603, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 665610, 669972. Grace, Coleman, Member of Parliament, Parliament House, Accra, Ghana. Akua, Dansua, Deputy Features Editor, Weekly Spectator, P. 0. Box 2638, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 028-21-3203, Fax: 229-398.






15. 16.


17. 18.

Veronica Olubunmi, Daryanani, P. 0. Box 7654, Accra-North, Ghana, Tel: 221307. Vivian Lowery Derryck, Special Adviser, Africa Leadership Forum & Academy for Education Development (AED), 1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20009-1202, USA, Tel:202-884-8362,Fax:202-884-8400, Email:vderryck@aed.com. Mrs. Bineta, Diop, Executive Director, Femmes-Africa, Solidarite, c/o Synergies Africa, P. 0. Box 2100-1211 Geneva, Tel: 4122-7888590, Fax: 4122-7888590. Katy, Diop, Regional Representative, ASHOKA Innovators for the Public, B. P. 15090, Dakar-Fann, Senegal, Tel/Fax: 22125434,3, E-mail: ashokagenda.sn. Hans, d'Orville, President, Africa Leadership Foundation, Inc., 1255 Fifth Avenue, Apt. 7K, New York, NY 10029, USA, Tel:2125342355,Fax:212-5340637,Email:lians.dorville@undp. org. Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, Katryn Benjamin & Transparency International, 92 Adeniran Ogunsaiiya Street, Surulere, Lagos, Fax: 234-1-2691285, Tel: 234-1-5851573. joana, Foster, Regional Coordinator, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF), 2nd Floor, Zambia House, Union Avenue/L. Takawira St, P. 0. Box 462-2, Harare, Zimbabwe, Tel: 263-4-752105/751189, Fax: 263-4-781886, Email: wildaf@mango.ZW.








Martine Renje Galloy, President, GERDES-CONGO & Lecturuer, Universitj Marien (Ngouabi-Brazzaville, BP 2621, Brazaville, Congo, Tel: 242-826467, Fax; 242-826467, E-mail: MEG11@calvacom.fr. Dorothy K., Gordon, Consultant, P. 0. Box 106, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana, Tel: 233-21-400960, E-mail: dorotl-iy@gn.apc.org. Olatokunbo, Ige, Legal Officer for Africa, International Commission of jurists, P. 0. Box 160, 26, Chemin de joinville CH-1216 COINTRIN, General, Switzerland, Tel: 4122-788-4747, Fax: 4122-788-48-80. ldriss Jazairy, Executive Director, Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development, Francis Huse, Francis Street, London, SW1 PIDE, United Kingdom, Tel: 44-1-718287611, Fax: 44-1719766113, Telex: 8954437 ACORD G. Therese, King, Parlementaire, Assemblje Nationale, B.P. 86, Dakar, Senegal, Tel: 221-233630, Fax: 221-236277,215004. Sylvie Kinigi, Representant Resident du PNOD en Guinee Equiatoriale, Malabo, B.P. 399. Cecilia, Kinuthia-Njenga, Environment Liaison Centre International, Kenya, P. 0. Box 72461, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel: 254-2-562015,Fax:254-2-562175,E-mail: ckinuthia@elci.gn.apc. org; ckinuthia@elci.sasa.unon.org. Theresa Koroma, Minister of State, Government House, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Tel: 224812.




28. 29.





Anne-Edith, Kouassigan, Translator-Interpreter, c/o Mrs. Marcelle Richard, B.P. 813, Bamako, Mali, Tel/Fax: 233-22-5249. Eva-Maria, Koehler, Director, Anglophone West Africa, Friedrich Nauman-Stiftung, P. 0. Box C2656, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 778066, Fax: 773111, E-mail: fnf@ncs.com.gh. Kafui Kpegba-Dzotsi, Djputj/Secretataire General de l'UTD, BP 12703, Lome, Togo, Tel: 228-218808, Fax: 228-217314. Vera Kpetoe, Ghana Association of Professional and Business Women, Accra, Ghana. Charles Leyeka, Lufumpa, Senior Economist Statistician, African Development ]sank, B.P. 1387, Abidjan, Cote d'lvoire, Tel: 225-205367, Fax: 225-204948, E-mail: Itifiimpa@africom.com. Meliri, Madarshahi, Senior Management Analyst, United Nations Secretariat, 866 UN Plaza, Room A -6036, New York, N.Y. 10017, USA, ]'el: 212-963-54,36, Fax: 212-534-0637. Aileen, Marshall, Senior Advisor, Global Coalition for Africa, 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue. NW Washington DC 2006, USA, Tel: 202-458-4266, 202-522-3259. Christabu Stella, Mensah-Brown, Librarian, National Council on Women and Development, P. 0. Box M53, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 233-21-229179. Ahmed., Mohiddin, Africa Foundation, P. 0. Box 1936, Accra, Ghana.


34. 35.








Gertrude I., Mongella, 11. 0. Box 31293, Dar-es-Salaam, TaiiZania, Fax: 255-,Iil-113272 or 255-51-75132. Zeii-ta Morgabel, Head of Department, Renj Mouawad Foundation, Lebanon, HazmichBrazilia, Moritia Building, Ground Floor, Beirut, Lebanon, Tel: 961-1-429007, Fax: 961-1429056, E-mail: zeinamu@cyberia.net.eb. janat Balumzi, Mukwaya, Minister of Gender/Community Development, Ministry of Gender/Country Development, P. 0. Box 7136, Kampala, Uganda, Tel: 241034, Fax: 256374., Evelyn Mungai, President, All Africa Business Women Association (AABA), P.O. Box 10988, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel: 254-256804.1,, Fax: 254-2-560420. Dragoljub, Najman, Member of the Executive Committee, Africa Leadership Forum, 6, Rue Borromee, 75015, Paris, France, Tel: 33-1-4734-6802, Fax: 33-1-4734-7486. Yvonne, Ngolo Lembe, Djputje B I'assemblje Nationale, Prjsidente de la Commission permanents Affaires EtrangPres et Coopjration de I'Assemblje Nationale, B.P. 13060, Brazaville, Congo, Tel: 242-831904. Stella, Obasanio, 19 Onijaiye, Sokori, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, Tel: 039-241771. Pearl, Ocloo, Executive Director, Career Women Ltd., P.O. Box 5154, Accra-North, Ghana, Tel: 233-21-772458, Fax: 233-21772458.






47. 48.



Angela Ofori-Atta, Clinical Psychologist, University of Ghana, Legon, Medical School, 11. 0. Box 3859, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 23321-665258, Fax: 233-21-669100, E-mail: Databank@ncs.com.gh. Obafemi J. A., Olopade, Chairman & Chief Executive, Fay Paper Products (Nig.) Ltd., '122/124 Broad Street, Lagos, Nigeria, Tel: 234-1-2664495, Fax: 234-1-2662137. Comfort, Owusu, Deputy Chief Whip, Parliament House, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 021-664181. Elizabeth Randolph Barcikowski, P. 0. Box 23016, Windhoek, Namibia, Tel/Fax: 264-61-227140. Marcelle, Richard, Directrice, Clinique Farako, B.P. 813, Bamako, Mali, Tel; 223-225387, Fax: 223-225249. Sorosh, Roshan, Managing Director, President, Int. Health Awareness Network, #310 MAC, 33 Overlook Road, Summit N. J., USA, Fax: 908-598-0188. Jeredine Williams Sarho, Leader, Coalition for Progress Party, 10 Richard Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Fax: 232-22-224439, 232-22-223091. Carolyn, Sherry, 1 Glenwood Avenue Yonkers, NY 10701 OR P.O. Box 76.54, Accra-North, Ghana, Tel: 914-476-9422. Maja, Stadius, UNV Programme Officer, UNDP, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 773890, Fax: 773899.







56. 57.


58. 59.

Mafoula Sylla, Directrice Adj Enfance, Guinee, MAI,;pFE, B.P. 527, Tel: 41-25-10 or 41-46-60, Fax: 41-46-60. Therasa Tagoe, Member of Parliament, President-UNIWAF, Consultant in Secretaryship and Women in Politics, P. 0. Box 12697, Accra-North, Ghana, Tel: 233-21-223612, 027-542730, Fax: 021-780019, 400948. Marlene V., Urbina de Breen, Financial Economist, United States Department of State, 2202 C Street, NW Room 5242A, Washington D.C. 20520, USA, Tel: 202-647-4098, Fax- 2027364583. Hawa, Yakubu, Former N4ember of Parliament, P. 0. Box 19001. Accra-North, Ghana, Tel: 028-212243. Ngtiele Rose, Zang, Parlementaire, B.P. 7541, Yaounde Cameroon, Tel: 20.8.48.


61, 62.

Interpreters /Translators 63. 64. Etiphrasie Akouetey, P. 0. Box 128, Lome, Togo, Tel: 2282258.06, Hotel-Ecole le Benin, Lome, Togo. Niyi, Alabi, Interpreter/Translator, Friedrich Ebert foundation, P. 0. Box 9722, Airport, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 772687/401486, Fax:772990, E-Mail: fesghana@iics.com.gh. Theophilus, Seddoh, P. 0. Box 7866, Accra-North, Ghana, Tel: 233-21-30106@.



Media: 66. 67. Evelyn Abayaah, Journalist, The Guide, -Box 8253, AccraNortli, Ghana, Tel: 232760, Fax: 232760. Cyril Acolatse, Editor-in-Chief, Radio News, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, P. 0. Box 1633, Accra-Ghana, 223012, Telex: 2114 GH. Cynthia, Akuamoali, Reporter, Ghanaian Chronicle, P. O.Box Private Mail Bag, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 021-232713, 227789. Stephen, Asumaiig, Jotirnalist-Reporter, Ghanaian Chronicle, Ghana. Charity Binka, Editor/Head of Women's Desk, GBC Radio News, P. 0. Box 1633, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 221165/223012, Fax: 401556. Gina Ama, Blay, Managing Editor, The Guide/Sun, P. 0. Box 8253, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 232760.


69. 70.


72. Joyce Boeli-Ocansey, Editor-in-Chief, Career Woman Magazine, P.O. Box 5154m Accra-North, Tel: 233-21-772458, Fax: 233-21772458. 73. Poiney Ike Idaii, Esi, Ghanaian Times, Accra, Ghana.

74. Ebenezer, Josiah, Deputy Editor, Business & Financial Concord, No. 3, Hearts Lane, Kokomlemle, P. 0. Box 022, Osu, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 232446. 75. Theresa, Owusu Ako, Assistant Editor, Women’s Desk, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Radio News, P. O. Box 1633, Accra,


Ghana, Tel: 221165/223012, Fax: 221165 76. William, Phillips-Addo, Reporter, Ghanaian Democrat, P. O. Box 63527, Accra, Ghana, Tel:668142 77. 78. 79. Peter Quayson, Weekly Spectator, Ghana, Tel: 228282 Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, Correspondent, BBC, Box 6398, AccraNorth, Tel: 028-212286/771039, Fax:771038 Albert Salia, Reporter, Daily Graphic, P. O. Box 742, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 228177. Barbara, Sam, Assistant Editor, Ghana Television, P. O. Box 1633, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 229387 Vincent t’Sas, Correspondent, Reuters, 20 Bird de Closee Abidjan, 15, Osu Avenue, Accra, P. O. Box 3248, Accra, Tel: 224782, Fax: 224782, 225879. Francis Xah, Staff Reporter, Weekly Spectator, P. O. Box 2638, Ghanaian Times Corporation, Accra, Ghana, Tel: 228282.

80. 81.



Appendix II
Agenda for the Meeting
Date & Time Day One: 27 January 1996 Opening Session: 9.00am Activity Speakers

Session Chair: Mrs. Graca Machel

Opening and Welcome Address H. E. (Mrs.) Graca Machel Member, Executive Committee, ALF H. E. Nanakonadu Rawlings First Lady of Ghana


Keynote Address

9.35am 9.55am

Coffee Break Statements - Friedrich Naumann Foundation Mrs. Eva Maria-Koehler Resident Representative, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Anglophone West Africa - Global Coalition for Africa Mrs. Aileen Marshall Senior Advisor, Global Coalition for Africa


- U. S. Department of State Ms. Marleen Urbine de Breen Financial Economist, Bureau of African Affairs, US Department of State 10:25am Empowering Women: The New Intentional Agenda for Development Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf Asst. Administrator & Director Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP CSSDCA: An Imperative for the 21st Century Mrs. Vivian Lowery Derryck Special Adviser, ALF SESSION ONE: WOMEN & POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN AFRICA SESSION CHAIR MRS. SYLVIE KINIGI Former Prime Minister, Burundi 10.30am-12.00 Beijing Revisited: Lessons and Strategies for African Women Lead Speaker Mrs. Gertrude Mongella Secretary-General, UN Fourth World Conference on Women Lead Discussants: Mrs. Joana Foster Regional Coordinator, Women in Law and Development in Africa Mrs. Cecilia Kinuthia Njenga Consultant, Kenya


Discussion 12.00-1-30pm The Limitations of the Immediate Environment Lead Speakers: Mrs. Specioza Wandira Kazabwe Vice-President & Minister of Gender & Community Development, Uganda Mrs. Jeredine Williams Sarho Former Presidential Candidate, For the Coalition, For the Progress, Sierra Leone Discussion Session 1.30pm-3.00pm 3.00pm-4-30pm Lunch Break The Electoral Process and Women Parliamentarians: Identifying The Obstacles Lead Speakers: Mrs. Elizabeth Akpalu Project Manager, Women in Public Life, Ghana Ms. Martene Renee Galloy President, GERDES, Congo Discussion Session 4.30-6-30pm Women, Law & Human Rights in Africa Lead Speaker Mrs. Tokunboh Ige Legal Officer for Africa, ICJ Geneva


Lead Discussant: Mrs. Pauline Nyamweya Public Law Institute, Nairobi, Kenya Day Two: 28 January 1996 Session Two: Identifying the imperatives for the future Women & Conflict Management In Africa Lead Speakers: H. E. 9Mrs.) Graca Machel Member, Executive Committee, ALF Mrs. Bineta Diop Synergies Africa, Geneva Mrs. Vivian Derryck Special Adviser, ALF Mrs. Sylvie Kinigi Former Prime Minister of Burundi Lead Discussant: Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura Executive, Campaign for Good Governance, Sierra Leone 11:30-12:00noon Coffee Session Chair: Mrs. The Theresa Koroma Minister of State, Sierra Leone



Professionalism and Social Obligations: Striking A Balance Lead Speakers: Madanie Marcelle Richard Mali Mrs. Angela Ofori-Atta Psychologist & Lecturer, University Of Ghana Lead Discussant: Ms. Katy Diop Regional Representative, ASHOKA West African Office, Dakar


Lunch Break Session Chair: Mrs. Theresa Yagoe Member of Parliament, Ghana


Challenges of the Private & Public Sector Lead Speakers: Ms. Evelyn Mungai Nairobi, Kenya Mrs. Vera Kpetoe Ghana Association of Professional And Business Women


Coffee Break Session Chair: Dr. Joana Foster Regional Coordinator, Women in Law & Development in Africa



Access to Finance: The MicroEnterprise Revolution Lead Speaker: Mr. A. Beileh Chief Operations Policy & Procedures Division, ADB Lead Discussant: Mrs. Stephanie Baeta Ansah Managing Director, Home Finance Company Ltd (HFC, Ghana

Day Three: 29 January 1996 Session Three: Preparing for the future Session Chair: Martene R. Galloy President, Gerdes, Congo Evolving Gender Sensitive Policies & Programmes: (Challenges of Cross Gender Approach) Lead Speaker: Mr. Idriss Jazairy Executive Director, A.C.O.R.D. Agency for Corporation Lead Discussants: Mme Kpegba Dzotsi Member of Parliament, Togo Mrs. Theresa Koroma Minister of State, Sierra Leone




Session Chair: Mrs. Janat Mukwaya Minister of Gender & Community Development, Uganda Preparing the Successor Generation for Leadership Lead Speaker: Mme Marie Therese Avemeka Ministre Charge de l’Integration de la Femm dans le development, Congo Lead Discussants: Mme Lembe Ngolo Member of Parliament, Congo Mme Mafoula Sylla Ministry of Social Affairs, Guinea

11.00-11.30am Closing Session 11.30-1.30pm 3.15pm

Coffee Break Session Chair: Mrs. Graca Machel Member, Executive Committee, ALF Summary, Recommendations, and Follow-up Actions Press Briefing Mrs. Graca Machel Mrs. Sylvie Kinigi Mrs. Gertrude Mongella


Appendix III
Letter to General Olusegun Obasanjo 29 January 1997 Dear General Obasanjo, Letter of Sympathy and Solidarity We, participants at the above named meeting of African women, held in Accra, Ghana 27-29th January, 1997, feel passionately saddened and depressed by your present circumstances, in particular the parlous condition under which you are kept in a common prison without access to either running water or electricity. Your dedicated service not only to your country, but also to Africa and indeed to humanity at large, has been widely acknowledged and internationally acclaimed. Your incarceration is a sad commentary on the reward of dedication and leadership in Africa and indeed in other parts of the world where finer principles of decent human conduct is the norm. We want to assure you of our solidarity with you and our resolve to do all we can to secure your unconditional freedom. We also want to convey to you our commitment to continuing the work you so effectively began through the instrumentalities of the ALF. Our gathering in Accra to discuss the theme “Empowering women for the 21st century. The Challenges on Politics Business Development and Leadership” is testimony to our commitment. General, please be reassured that many in Africa and throughout the world stand with us in their thoughts and prayers for you. We hope that the assurances of our sympathy, indeed solidarity, and prayers will


give you encouragement and strength to endure and withstand the hardships of your painful trials. Please accept, Dear General, the assurances of our highest fraternal esteem and affection. Your Sisters and Brothers, Participants in the African Women Meeting Accra, Ghana, 27th – 29th January 1997


Annexure IV
by H. E. Mrs. Stella Obasanjo32 Mama Graca, H. E. Mrs. Graca Machel, Mama Beijing, Gertrude Mongella, H. E. Mrs. Sylvie Kinigi, Excellencies, Ministers, Dear friends, Sister – and of course our brothers, I am deeply moved and encouraged by this extraordinary meeting. Let nobody say again that women cannot address and deal not only with their own issues, but with issues of state, with issues of war and peace, with issues of our communities! We are ready and eager to assume our rightful place in our African societies – individually and collectively. The incredible quality of the discussions thus far has proved this point eloquently. Let me thank you all for having come to Accra, some from across our continent or even further, to strategise what can be done to give practical meaning to empowerment – how to wrest political and economic power from the all-too dominant male establishment and how to advance our own agenda in practical terms in all walks of African life. We have been waiting long and patiently to see our partners, sons, brothers and husbands take effective steps to involve us and share not only duties but responsibilities with us. Maybe we have waited too long. No doubt, the time is now! Let us think BIG, as the First Lady of Ghana yesterday suggested.

Wife of General Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of State of Nigeria.


And it is appropriate that this uplifting experience happens under the auspices of the Africa Leadership Forum. No doubt, my husband would have been thoroughly impressed by the presentations and discussions. True, he was a late convert to the pivotal role women must play in all aspects of societal life. But better late than never. Before he left office, he came around to appoint the first Secretary of State for Women Affairs in the Nigerian government. True, it was not a ministerial portfolio, but it was a beginning. And since he left office he tried to give practical meaning to his growing conviction of the leadership potential of women. And maybe that caused then Mama Beijing to appoint him to an International Advisory Committee for the Beijing Conference. My husband firmly believed that Africa cannot make the progress it needs to make if we do not harness all our resources for progress. Unless that happens, the African continent of ours will not only be marginalised, it will be ostracized. We cannot fall back further behind other countries that are making strides in the legal and practical empowerment of women. Hearing and seeing the leadership potential of African women at this Accra conference is most encouraging -–and am sure when I will visit my husband again in a few weeks time, he also will be deeply impressed and moved by what transpired here. He will be especially moved, as I have been, by your humanity and your concern for his plight. Your decision to try to reach out to Nigeria’s President, General Sani Abacha, to seek freedom for my husband caught me by complete surprise – and I am deeply gratified. Your solidarity song in which you wished that General Olusegun Obasanjo is released with others detained in Nigeria and the rest of Africa made me speechless and caused me goose pimples. I just wish that I could get the text, if not the tape to try to replay it to him in prison, if at all possible.


You all have made this conference a turning point in the future of the Africa Leadership Forum. I am sure that women will henceforth have to play a lead role in all its activities. I pray for your individual success, I pray for our collective success and I pray for the early release of my husband to savor personally your dynamism, humanism and solidarity. Thank you so very much!


Annexure V
Background Note on the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) Despite over a quarter of a century of political independence Africa’s aspirations and hopes remain today largely unfulfilled. This has not been, however, a period of unmitigated failure in the history of the continent; there have been successes in education, public health, import substitution industries, and in the continuing process of decolonization. The problems of development, peace and security, the health of the world economy, and improving the environment are interrelated global issues; they do not admit of piecemeal solutions. And yet all countries find that in the absence of true global cooperation, they have to tackle particular aspects of them. At the national level in Africa, the inadequacy of information, data, and resources render the problems daunting. Regionally they are overwhelming. African leaders have frequently come to their positions with limited experience. Though most of them have battled on, confronting their awesome problems of development and nation-building essentially not only unprepared but unaided, their efforts have been at best only a qualified success. Africa cannot afford to continue with ill-prepared and unassisted leaders. Those on whom the burden of leadership will fall in future must fully comprehend their responsibilities, duties, and obligations. They must, that is, have exposure and carefully planned preparation if they are to meet the challenges that will face them.


The leaders of tomorrow, however, today have to be pursuing their professional careers. They have little time to devote to gaining a comprehensive knowledge of their own countries and their region, nor of the cultures their diverse peoples. Nor even to learning about and understanding the actions taken by their present leaders where they do not impinge on their own areas of expertise. Most young potential leaders have focused primarily on single issues, lacking time to look at wider, critical regional and world challenges. Time for comprehensive study and reflection, for sharing experiences with persons inside, let alone outside, their countries, region, and field of concentration is very limited. Opportunities for such detached discussion and contemplation are even rarer. There are no private institutions in Africa devoted to preparing potential leaders with a global outlook, leaders who will be able to cooperate within and across national, regional, and institutional boundaries. Further, it is difficult, if not impossible, in many African countries to gain access to relevant and timely information on most national, regional, and global issues. Experience in and out of Government and in international for a bears out this situation, one which poses a challenge to address and remedy. One solution is to launch the “Africa Leadership Forum” – conducting a series of meetings which may be national, sub regional, regional and international in dimension and may vary in duration. The purpose will be to enhance the knowledge and awareness of current and young, potential African leaders, placing special emphasis on diagnosing apparent failures of the past; on understanding multiple dimensions and complex interrelations of local, national, regional, and global problems; and on seeking possible approaches to solutions.


Objectives The purpose of the Forum is to encourage diagnosis, understanding, and an informed search for solutions to local, regional and global problems, taking full account of their interrelationships and mutual consequences. To that end, the Forum will develop, organize and support programmes for the training of young and promising Africans with leadership potential so as to expose them to the demands, duties and obligations of leadership positions and to prepare them systematically for assuming higher responsibilities and meeting the challenges of an interdependent world. The Forum will also endeavour to generate greater understanding and enhance the knowledge and awareness of development and social problems within a global context among young, potential leaders from all sectors of society, cutting across national, regional, continental, professional and institutional borders. This may foster close and enduring relationships among participants, relationships promoting life-long association and cooperation. Further, the Forum will support and encourage the diagnosis and informed search for appropriate and effective solutions to local and regional African problems and to global problems from an African perspective – within the framework of global interdependence, including consideration of phased action programmes that can be initiated by various countries, sub-regions and institutions. In additions, there will be specific weekend seminars organized as Farm House Dialogues to be held quarterly.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful