I was on “The Takeaway” on Friday, March 30, to speak about equality for African women in the workforce: African Women and the #MeToo Revolution. What challenges do African women face? What opportunities are available to them?
Tremendous progress has been made but much remains to be done. It's a short clip that begins with a story about women in the Lesotho military fighting for, and getting the right to become pregnant due to their winning a lawsuit.
The #MeToo phenomenon has not taken off because of the lack of legal protections for women who speak out about sexual harassment and abuse. There are also considerable social constraints to speaking about sexual trauma. Until those barriers are removed, there'll be little airing of trauma and pain in public.
I like it that The Takeaway featured African women journalists telling the stories that matter to them and to women in the African continent. I didn't like the photo that accompanied the story and am sharing some of the art by two highly talented young artists, Stephen Folaranmi, and Gbolade Omidiran, as well as a photo of me teaching at Brooklyn College in my early days there. There's also a photo of an adire (indigo batik) bedspread that I own, which is made by Nigerian women in Abeokuta and Oshogbo.
Read more about African Women in the workforce
1. Women Matter Africa talks about women in the formal economy.
2. Africa A World Leader In Women Business Owners is a news story about African women's considerable entrepreneurship, and identifies Ghana as the leading country in this respect.
3. UN Women's PROGRESS OF THE WORLD’S WOMEN 2015-2016: TRANSFORMING ECONOMIES, REALIZING RIGHTS is a great resource that shows the global nature of the problem and gives insights into challenges and opportunities.
4. Education is an important factor for gender equality in the workforce, but there are serious, gendered disparities in access, retention and graduation. See: UNICEF's Barriers to Girls' Education, Strategies and Interventions
5. Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security's Women Peace and Security Index 2017/18, with its focus on "Tracking sustainable peace through inclusion, justice, and security for women," also gives global insight to gender equity beyond the workplace.