The goal of the African Union-European Union (AU-EU) Initiative for Women in Decision-Making Positions is to empower women and advance gender equality on both continents. The initiative supports, trains, and equips female leaders and aspiring leaders with tools in an effort to increase the number of women in positions of decision-making in both regions.
Promoting gender parity in positions of decision-making is one of the main objectives of the AU-EU Initiative for Women in Decision-Making Positions. This approach entails pushing and assisting women to assume leadership roles in a range of industries, such as business, politics, and civil society. The initiative offers mentorship and training programmes to give women the tools they need to be successful in leadership positions.
Promoting gender-responsive policies and practices across a range of industries is one of the initiative’s other strategies. This entails collaborating with businesses, governments, and civil society organisations to create laws and procedures that support women’s empowerment and gender equality. Additionally, the initiative supports the application of current laws and policies that advance women’s rights and gender equality.
Since its establishment, the AU-EU Initiative for Women in Decision-Making Positions has produced a number of success stories. The rise of women in leadership roles in politics in Europe and Africa is among the most noteworthy success stories. The Inter-Parliamentary Union reports that the proportion of women serving in African national parliaments climbed from 9.8% in 1995 to 24.5% in 2021.
The proportion of women serving in European national parliaments rose from 16.8% in 1995 to 31.4% in 2021. These numbers demonstrate that progress is being made, even though there is still a long way to go before there is gender parity in political leadership roles.
An additional achievement of the initiative is the rise in the proportion of women occupying leadership roles in business. Companies with more women in leadership roles typically outperform those with fewer women, according to a McKinsey & Company report. According to the report, there was a 25% higher likelihood of above-average profitability for companies in the top quartile of gender diversity compared to those in the bottom quartile.
By offering training and mentorship programmes to female entrepreneurs and business leaders, the AU-EU Initiative for Women in Decision-Making Positions has significantly contributed to the advancement of gender diversity in the business sector.
Gender-responsive policies and practices have been successfully promoted in several sectors by the AU-EU Initiative for Women in Decision-Making Positions. For instance, the initiative has developed laws and policies that support women’s empowerment and gender equality in collaboration with governments in Europe and Africa. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), established by the African Union in 2019, intends to unite the continent’s markets for products and services.
The initiative argues that in order to guarantee that women profit from the trade agreement, gender-responsive clauses should be included in the AfCFTA.
Strategic Pillars of the Initiative:
The AU-EU Initiative for Women in Decision-Making Positions operates on four key pillars:
Capacity Building: The programme gives women the information and abilities needed to succeed in leadership positions by providing workshops, training, and mentorship opportunities. Subjects covered include everything from political campaigning and financial literacy to public speaking and negotiating.
Networking and Knowledge Sharing: Through the development of international connections and peer-to-peer exchange platforms, the initiative assists women in forming networks, exchanging best practices, and discovering new prospects.
Advocacy and Policy Dialogue: The initiative actively engages leaders in the private sector, civil society organisations, and policymakers in order to advocate for practices and policies that advance gender equality and facilitate women’s advancement into leadership roles.
Visibility and Role Models: By highlighting the accomplishments of accomplished female leaders through media campaigns and events, we can challenge preconceived notions and inspire others.
Numerous success stories have resulted from the initiative, changing people’s lives and influencing larger social change. Here are some instances:
Rwanda: Rwanda became a global leader in women’s political participation when it passed legislation mandating 30% female representation in parliament with the initiative’s help.
Liberia: The programme gave over 1,000 women training in political leadership, which significantly increased the number of women running for local office.
Ethiopia: The initiative enabled female entrepreneurs to obtain capital and expand their enterprises, thereby promoting economic growth, through mentorship programmes.
South Africa: The programme enabled knowledge sharing between female leaders in South Africa and Europe, which resulted in the creation of creative approaches to combating gender-based violence.
EU Member States: The initiative helped pave the way for greater gender equality in European businesses by supporting the adoption of the EU Gender Balance on Corporate Boards Directive, which requires companies to increase the number of women on their boards.
Summing up, the AU-EU Initiative for Women in Decision-Making Positions is a collaborative effort that aims to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in both Africa and Europe. To accomplish its objectives, the initiative needs to employ several tactics, such as encouraging gender parity in positions of decision-making and gender-responsive laws and procedures. Since its launch, the initiative has produced some success stories, such as the rise in the proportion of women in leadership roles in business and politics and the advancement of gender-responsive practices and policies across a range of industries. Even though there is still more work to be done to attain gender parity in positions of decision-making, the AU-EU Initiative is making significant progress towards achieving these goals.