In a live poll conducted by Africa.com on May 13 as part of its webinar series, Crisis Management for African Business Leaders, 47% of webinar participants do not think that African governments are taking women’s issues into consideration as they develop policies to address COVID-19. 28% think that African governments are taking women’s issues into consideration as they develop policies to address COVID-19. 25% had no opinion on the matter.
A second question asked respondents if they agreed with the statement, “Compared to Western countries, do professional women have community resources and support to remain resilient to the challenges posed by COVID-19?” 70% disagreed with this statement, 18% agreed, and 12% neither agreed nor disagreed.
A third question showed optimism. Respondents were asked if they agreed with the statement, “I expect that one of the major shifts occurring as a result of the pandemic is that African women will gain ground in business and society.” The majority agreed with this statement. 44% agreed, 33% disagreed, and 23% neither agreed nor disagreed.
Approximately 1,500 business leaders participated in the poll. Participants came from 46 countries across the African continent, with the largest representation coming from Nigeria, followed by South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia. 60% of the participants have one of the following titles: CEO, managing director, president, principal, partner, CFO, chair, chief, director, executive director, group head, general manager, or manager. Of the remaining 40%, the leading titles are professor, analyst and consultant.
The largest sectors represented are financial services and professional services, followed by energy and manufacturing. A smaller tier consisted of real estate, health care, agriculture, health care, and media, arts & entertainment.
The live poll was conducted as part of a webinar series, Crisis Management for African Business Leaders, organized by Africa.com. The session at which the poll was conducted is titled “Women Have Proven to Be Effective Leaders During COVID-19. Is This the Path to Power?” The panel discussion featured the Prime Minister of Namibia, Her Excellency Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila; Her Excellency, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General
of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women; Oby Ezekwesili, Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative; Ann Juuko, Chief Executive, Stanbic Bank, Uganda; Suzan Kereere, Global Head Merchant Sales and Acquiring, Visa Inc.; and Natasha Wang, Women Deliver Young Leader.
Africa.com Chair and CEO Teresa Clarke commented: “The poll results are supported by the qualitative data we collected from the 17,000 registrants for the webinar series. We asked registrants what their greatest concern is with respect to COVID-19. Many respondents referenced the disproportionate burden that lockdowns place on women, and the economic vulnerability of market women.”
The panel discussion is part of a series on crisis management developed by Africa.com and faculty from Harvard Business School. The next webinar discussion will take place on Wednesday, May 20, “What’s the Real Story Behind Africa’s COVID-19 Figures?” featuring WHO Africa region head, Dr Rebecca Natalie Moeti; Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
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