Multiple reports have acknowledged the positive effect of inclusiveness on the human and economic growth of a nation. For instance, a report by Citigroup reveals that reversing discriminatory practices against Blacks could boost the US economy by $5 trillion in the next five years.
In Africa, women tend to be on the fringes of leadership and economic participation. Although in recent times, African women are playing leading roles in their various nations and multinational organizations, they are still marginalized.
Achieving gender parity on the continent is slowly but gradually gaining policy attention. Many analysts have attributed the slow pace to toxic traditional cultures that are simply refusing to go away.
Countries such as Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa, Burundi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Madagascar, Uganda, and Tanzania have been praised by the World Economic Forum for their role in promoting gender parity.
In recent times, high-profile appointments on the continent and the world has gone to African women. The African Union recently appointed the deputy central bank governor of Rwanda, Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, as deputy chairperson of the AU Commission.
And the former Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 66, was also appointed as the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General, making her the first Black woman and African to occupy the global organization.
According to the World Economic Forum, “gender parity has a fundamental bearing on whether or not economies and societies thrive.” This buttresses a report by McKinsey Global Institute that achieving gender parity can significantly improve Africa’s economy or the economies of African countries.
The report notes that improving women’s participation in governance and economic activity could boost African economies by $316 billion or the equivalent of 10 percent of their collective GDP by 2025.
The report examined the “power of parity” for Africa, exploring ways accelerating gender parity could have an effect on economic growth. The women population in Africa is more than 50% but accounts for only 33% of the continent’s collective GDP. “This reinforces and fuels inequality and compromises Africa’s long-term economic health,” the report said.
At its current pace, it will take Africa more than 140 years to achieve gender parity as most African countries rank low on many gender indicators except for progress made in legal protection and political representation, according to the report.
On country-by-country progress, the McKinsey report noted that Rwanda and South Africa have increased women’s representation in middle-management roles by 27 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
The report also acknowledged Algeria’s effort in cutting maternal mortality rates by around 9 percent while Egypt has tripled its score. Guinea and Liberia doubled their scores on the legal protection of women, according to the report.
“These examples of rapid progress should inspire others to forge ahead with actions to advance gender equality,” it said.