We extend our sincere appreciation to the many participants and sector-leaders that joined us for this fifth webinar in our series. Participants joined SAEDI Consulting Barbados Inc and No-Line Communications for an insightful conversation around the topic: Leading for Gender Equal Access & Control Over Resources.
For this webinar in the series, we were honoured to have with us as presenters: Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi, Executive Vice President of African Center for Economic Transformation (Ghana); Gia Gaspard-Taylor, President of Network of Rural Women Producers (Trinidad and Tobago) and Foday Kanyi, Programme Lead Resilience, Livelihoods and Climate Justice of Action Aid (The Gambia) and as always, Leisa Perch, CEO and Founder of SAEDI Consulting Barbados Inc and Nozipho Ndiweni of No-Line Communications for our welcome and introductions.
In focus for Webinar 5 were questions including:
- What does control of resources look like for women? What should it look like?
- How do we enable someone who has not always had access to resources to understand the responsibilities that come with access?
- How does climate and disaster risk challenge control and how does it require us to look at the sustainability of access through better control mechanisms?
We also heard from Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi, Executive Vice President of African Center for Economic Transformation who spoke on ‘Enabling Gender Equal Access to Economic Resources in Africa’. Numerous structural inequalities limit women’s equal participation and access to resources in Sub-Saharan Africa, including earning 50% less than male counterparts for the same type of work, not having the same rights as men and boys to own or inherit land, combined with greater illiteracy rates and lower percentages of the female population engaged in the labour force.
Promoting equality makes economic sense on the continent with potential benefits including increasing average annual GDP per capita growth in in Sub-Saharan African countries by as much as 0.9 percent, adding 12 percent to annual GDP by 2025, and boosting the productive potential of 1 billion Africans. ‘Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative. It is the key to transforming economies, promoting inclusive growth and building resilient societies.’ Multiple in-roads exist to create a more equitable environment including social: recognizing gender differences in adaptation needs and capacities or promoting gender-equitable participation in decision-making; economic: by harnessing macroeconomic policy instruments to achieve gender balance ex. In Rwanda, a 1999 law that enabled women to inherit their parents’ properties and led to closure in gender gaps in land ownership with 88.8 per cent of women own land, compared with 89.5 per cent of men and financial: using fiscal policies to promote progressive tax reforms to incentivise female economic participation or utilising gender-responsive budgeting frameworks.
Gia Gaspard-Taylor shared with us experiences of women entrepreneurs in Trinidad and Tobago who, with the support of Network of Rural Women Producers, have realised great success. Their support has helped spur the year-round cultivation of the Mango industry in Trinidad and Tobago, creating benefits to the economy and providing numerous nutritional benefits for the population, in particular for expectant mothers. Eco-Truffles is one such company that has harvested natural products, including mangos, and received support from the Network of Rural Women Producers to create a thriving business in the aesthetics and wellness space.
Foday Kanyi with ActionAid International in the Gambia provided a thorough overview of how we define resources and the gendered differences to control over these resources. Resources can be 1) Productive and Economic (including: land, equipment, tools, cash, and employment), Political (including representative organizations, leadership, education and information, experiences in the public sphere, self-confidence and credibility), and Time Resources (involves decision making, choice over time allocation to different tasks). Ensuring women’s access to and control over resources requires a multi-tiered approach which combines: focusing on gender-responsive public services, social protection measures, grievance redress mechanisms, access to resources to promote and protect disaster and climate risk (information, education, technology and services), promoting effective Land and Natural Resources (LNR) governance and facilitating the implementation of Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests.
While access is key to the economic participation and empowerment of all, for women, it is not enough to guarantee equality. Achieving equality requires us to interrogate policy, legislation, programmes and projects about the extent to which they go beyond a theoretical focus on access to delivering tangible change in the lives of people.
We thank all our participants and speakers for sharing their thoughtful insights around this topic and what is happening from a leadership perspective in improving Gender Equal Access & Control Over Resources.
We look forward to the next conversation in our speaker series. If you discover interesting articles related to our work and this series or wish to post an article or blog on our webpage, please kindly share and send to email@example.com.
REMEMBER: Discussions take place every 2nd Tuesday, every 2 months, where we gather with women leaders to discuss new ideas on topical issues. We also want to have male allies and men working on gender equality join the conversation too.
Around these virtual conversations, we explore the factors that drive, spur, include and deter women's leadership as well as what more is needed to reach the goal of inclusive and just societies. This series is intended for anyone who is interested in Gender and Environment and issues of Women's Leadership.
We look forward to having you join us!