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From Home-makers To Policy Shakers:. Ensuring equitable educational outcomes, employing quotas and mentoring to ensure young African women are leaders for sustainable development. Written by: Brenda Lung’ania Wangwe Ifeoma-Amaka Orji Lucy Terngu Tembe Zainab Kwaru Muhammad-Idris

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from home makers to policy shakers

From Home-makers To Policy Shakers:

Ensuring equitable educational outcomes, employing quotas and mentoring to ensure young African women are leaders for sustainable development.

Written by:

Brenda Lung’aniaWangwe

Ifeoma-Amaka Orji

Lucy TernguTembe

Zainab Kwaru Muhammad-Idris

26th October, 2012

overview of presentation
Overview of presentation
  • Introduction
  • Why the policy brief?
  • Education as a tool for engagement and leadership development of Girls and young women
  • Current Situation
  • Available policy instruments/options for engagement
  • Way forward and Conclusion
  • The importance of engaging girls and young women in leadership cannot be over emphasized.
  • Their fundamental rights has been an international goal for decades, but since the 1990s, women’s engagement and empowerment have come into sharp focus.
  • Several landmark conferences (ICPD, Beijing and International Day of the Girls Child etc) placed their issues at the center of development efforts.
  • A number of international conventions recognized women's literacy as key to empowering women's participation in decision making.
objectives of the policy brief
Objectives of the policy brief
  • Explore the prevailing norms/practices that hinder African girls and young women’s educational and leadership development
  • Identify educational opportunities available and leadership potentials through best practice programmes and policies
  • Recommend innovative options through education as tools for engagement and overall leadership development
education as a tool
Education as a tool…
  • Brings about integration of separate entities that make up an individual.
  • Focuses on the social aspect of men and women.
  • A sign of superiority, freedom and control for all.
  • In the words of an astute African leader:

“To educate girls is to reduce poverty. Study after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls.” —Kofi Annan, Former U.N. Secretary General

why focus on girls women education
Why focus on girls/women education?
  • Builds greater self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Heightens women’s awareness of the important role they can play in the community including civic participation and decision making
  • Improves health and enables them make best choices for their lives, families and communities.
  • Women are economically secure and more likely to be an advantage to the society.
  • Leads to faster economic growth
current situation
Current situation
  • Patriarchal culture, socio-economic norms and political inequalities reduces girls’ access to existing opportunities
  • Women not easily accepted as leaders
  • Gender disparities in education continue to surface with under-achievement of girls recorded
  • Negative consequences for the girl-child also impairs the continent’s growth and expected development.
  • African Govts. efforts to address these issues inadequate
current situation 2
Current situation…2
  • Lesotho and Botswana have achieved gender parity and no gap in education.
  • In Malawi, primary school girl enrollment jumped 70% since introduction of free education in 1994 (despite AIDS pandemic)
  • In Niger, a group of village women’s basic numeracy skills was built and they became a national movement
  • The education budget of Nigeria is the lowest among most African countries
available policy instruments options for engagement

Option 1: Strengthen implementation of an education ‘Quota System’ using bottom-up approach policy – targeting all young girls’ irrespective of their status and those with disabilities.

Option 2: Integration of formal and informal systems of education – targeting in-school and out-of-school girls through educational mentorship

1 quota option
1. Quota option


  • Equal representation for both men and women.
  • Substantive equality (as opposed to formal equality) and equal outcomes rather than equal chances.
  • Addressing the rights of marginalized groups to contribute to society’s development.
  • Women's unique experiences to contribute to effective decision making.
  • Remove barriers that prevent women from effective decision making in social, economic, and/or political arena.
2 mentorship option


  • Increased self-confidence, self-belief and self-esteem to set and pursue goals.
  • Greater clarity in relation to personal and professional goals.
  • Improved/rewarding organizational and communication skills.
  • A new awareness of their communities, talents and opportunities that exist; and how effectively to get involved.
  • Enhanced social support networks.
conditions for effective implementation of both options
Conditions for effective implementation of both options
  • High political will of African countries and communities leaderships including provision of concrete policy enactments.
  • Application in already existing educational systems and supportive legislation to enact the options.
  • Open slots, like constitutional and legal reforms, to integrate or mainstream quota and mentorship into the educational system. Soon… Liberia, Malawi….
  •  Training and skills development crucial for both women and men, especially for men and the implementers.
conditions for effective implementation of both options 2
Conditions for effective implementation of both options…2
  • Mobilization of cultural and religious persuasions.
  • Strong civil society structures that promote women’s right to education.
  • Establish a networking structure that will ensure the girl is fully equipped for leadership.
policy support
Policy support
  • The Education For All and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 3, which seeks to eliminate gender disparity at all levels by 2015 and beyond.
  • African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child -1999:
    • Article 4: Best Interests of the Child
    • Article 8: Freedom of Association
    • Article 11: Education
    • Article 13: Handicapped Children
    • Article 15: Child Labour
conclusion and way forward
Conclusion and way forward
  • “We should be dedicating our efforts to brave young women, some of whose names we will know and some we will never know, who struggle against tradition and culture and even outright hostility and sometimes violence to pursue their hopes, their God-given potential to have a life of meaning and purpose and make contributions to their families, their communities, their countries, and the world…” – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2012
  • And what better way for African girls than through education as a foundation for ensuring their leadership. This is in line with our recommended options.