As COVID-19 swept through the world, everything changed. Countries, societies, and communities have been reshaped, political and social systems restructured, and new social norms created—all at breakneck speed. The pandemic became the great revealer and amplifier of existing inequalities and unfairness across the world.
Many African countries are now seizing this opportunity for a “great reset.” Such a transformation, though, calls for astute management of complexity, fragility, and urgency on multiple fronts—including emergency responses, recovery plans, and longer-term strategies for sustaining this change. How can this be done?
Enter Africa’s managers, transformers, front-line workers, and caregivers—African women.
Just how are women driving this great reset and transformation?
- Women leaders driving the emergency response When faced with emergencies such as floods, droughts, epidemics, or wars, African women traditionally play a leading role as volunteers, community mobilizers, community health workers, or as front-line responders keeping their communities together and combating these shocks.
- Delivering equitable, gender-responsive, and inclusive health systems Moreover, given their central role in health care, across Africa, women are leading the call for health workers to be paid a fair wage and serve under safe working conditions to deliver the right to health for all, fight COVID-19, and build resilient and equitable health systems for the future.
- Educating girls to lead the transformation Alongside the health crisis is an unprecedented global education crisis—a crisis that has become even more urgent under COVID-19. Pre-pandemic figures show that, in sub-Saharan Africa, only 40 percent of girls completed lower secondary school, and even those who attended school were not learning. Now, experts fear that girls will not return to school after lockdowns are over.
- A trading transformation: Welcome to the African continental free trade arena While the world is fracturing, the African Union is integrating, deepening ties across the continent, especially through the African Continental Free Trade Area.
- Innovating across the tech spectrum During COVID-related lockdowns and quarantines, the internet has been a lifeline to work, education, health information, family and friends, and, at the end of the day, hard-earned entertainment.
Read the full article about women driving Africa’s reset by Winnie Byanyima and Caroline Kende-Robb at Brookings.
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