The well-known Africa proverb goes, "If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation." This is further substantiated by the fact that women typically invest up to 90% of their income compared to men (40%), back into their families on education and health which not only benefits communities, but can transform societies. Societies where women are educated and with a higher rate of female participation in the workforce see more economic progress.
The recent Djembe Insights Report, which looked at innovation in Africa and how it has been impacted by the pandemic, concluded that the continent’s innovation future rests in the ability of African countries to prioritise inclusivity, ranging from gender gaps in terms of entrepreneurship funding, to widespread access to internet, data and digital learning in both urban and rural Africa.
Therefore, closing the gender gap is critical for our future and for economies in Africa to thrive. Women like me who have benefitted from a good education and have a successful career have a duty (if we can) to help those left behind to see and also be part of creating this future. For girls and young women from less privileged backgrounds, rural communities or conservative cultures, it is the understanding that comes through being mentored by a woman that can make the difference.
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