The Controversy Surrounding African Women Leaders

One cannot ascertain when or where the stigma against women leaders stemmed from. However there seems to be widespread reasons for why people think women should not take active part in leadership and governance.
The argument about the “biological clock” seems to be the most popular case against women leaders. In many African societies, it is believed that as a result of a woman’s metabolism and her duty of bearing and bringing up children, she has little time for any thing other than the upkeep of her household.
Although it is valid that the maintenance of a household and upbringing of children is time consuming, it seems that the proponents of this argument forget that the leaders in their societies were also brought up by women or maternal figures. In effect, African women do have the capacity to create a positive influence in the lives of people. Perhaps women leaders are even more adept at being leaders than their male counterparts as they spend a great part of their lives being unofficial leaders.
Another excuse used against the participation of women in leadership is the fact that they are usually sensitive and emotional and as such would not be able to perform to the best of their ability in stressful situations. True, women are usually very emotional. But does this necessarily have to be a bad thing? The empathy that women feel for people and situations make them better able to understand the people they are leading and this motivates them to work even harder to achieve the goals of the community.
A typical example is the case of Yaa Asantewa, the Ghanaian Queen mother of Ejisu who’s empathy for her people the Akans motivated her to fight for the protection of her people and land against the British colonists. Although she eventually exiled to Seychelles, she was able to inspire the Asante army to fight for the protection of their land and in effect, the Asante kingdom prevailed. Even today, it is one of the most diverse and rich ethnic groups in West Africa.


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