Africa’s power shift?2 January 2013

Isabelle Alenus-Crosby

2012 was a good year for women in Africa with the election of a second female president, the first female head of the African Union, two Nobel Prize winners, and a chief prosecutor of the international criminal court.

With such strong role models, and African men becoming increasingly accepting of these power shifts, African women seem to be rising as quickly as Africa itself.

The Rwandan parliament is made up of 56% women, South Africa 42%, Mozambique 40%, Botswana 39% and Angola 38%. It might be a coincidence that these are also 5 of the most prosperous countries in Africa, but coincidence or not, women’s participation in political power seems to be having a very positive impact. A variety of NGOs have reported that in the above countries, as well as in Ghana, there have been significant improvements in women’s education and employment in the past couple of years, both essential to achieving equality.

It remains to be seen whether the increasing visibility of African women in power translates to better prospects for women in general. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report, inequality between men and women on the continent still has a long way to go, but a significant step forward seems to have been taken in 2012.  Can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring!