Leadership & Gender Equality for African Women

25th Feb, 2019

Dr Elisha Attai, founder of African Women in Leadership Organisation (AWLO, a nonprofit organisation in Lagos, Nigeria), talks about his motivations and initiatives to drive change in gender equality in Africa.

HQ: Can you share with our readers the mission and vision of your association?

Dr Elisha AttaiEA: The African Women in Leadership Organisation envisions a world in which women take their rightful place as home and nation builders with opportunities and equal access in all areas. We aim to bring together female executives, entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders to further enhance their leadership capabilities and fulfill the objectives of the organisation.

What is your motivation for starting this association? In your opinion, what should and needs to be changed for women in Africa?

Having worked as a media consultant for years, I have had opportunities to work with women. I was inspired ‘to bring women together’ – to raise each other up; as this was the edge that we the male counterparts had over women.

I witnessed firsthand the incidence of how a woman’s lack of support for another closed a potential door of opportunity, and I was moved to bring women together to form a support system and build each other up. It also began a movement of getting women prepared for Leadership Opportunities.

In order to encourage more women to participate in leadership and government, it is necessary that the community and world as a whole give them the support needed. Instead of downplaying the efforts of African women, people could encourage them either by listening to their views in an objective manner, participating in women-initiated activities, and helping eradicate the social stigma and discrimination against women in leadership and African women in general.

Can you share some of the projects that has impacted beneficiaries?

  • iLead – A project targeted at pupils/students between ages 5 and 17 in schools who are young leaders, and prospective leaders. We strive for inclusion in iLead through iLead clubs, leadership debates, summits, and activities to stimulate young minds and build capacity for leadership. iLead is equipping Africa’s next generation of female leaders with knowledge and skills in leadership, making them more competent and confident to drive transformative change on the continent.
  • Leadership Academy and Finishing School – Our academy affiliates with leadership institutions, organisations with shared goals, and tertiary institutions to create curriculums dedicated to grooming and building women for leadership. This curriculum caters to women at every level of leadership. As Potential Leaders, Young Women Leaders, Professionals, CEOs, Public Servants, and Entrepreneurs. This is one of AWLO’s measurable strategy for impact in leadership.
  • HEforShe – Over the years AWLO’s strong advocacy has yield thousands of people to support the issue of gender equality and women’s empowerment, starting at a high level with a simple positive pledge, and moving to a deeper level of concrete action and social change. Our stories and activities are being captured and shared globally through the UN platforms and our in-house media networks.

Tell us about your biggest annual event.

Every year the African Women in Leadership Organisation (AWLO) brings together women of African descent from various walks of life to channel their leadership potential at the African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC).

During AWLC, heads of government and stakeholders are brought in, to weather in on the concerns of the African Woman. It is usually attended by women leaders of African descent such as, CEOs, Executives, Politicians, Public Servants, Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, and other professionals. It rekindles the zeal for leadership, and gears up women for leadership roles.

Top priority at AWLC yearly, is a communique adopted after resolutions made by stakeholders during the conference. The conference culminates in an awards/gala that recognises industrious female leaders who have rolled in achievements for the continent.

For more information about the association, please visit awlo.org

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