Our RationaleHillary Clinton, Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, who run the world? Girls. But do they? Of the 195 independent countries in the world, only 17 are led by women. Women hold just 22.8% of seats in parliaments globally and 22.9% in Africa. Only 19.2% of board seats in the US S&P 500 index are held by women. On the African continent, there were only 2.5% female CEOs of the top 200 businesses sampled.

Evidence shows that today’s most successful enterprises are those that bring diverse perspectives and experiences to organizational challenges. Indeed, organizations with a greater share of women on their boards tend to have higher operating margins, return on equity, and total return to shareholders.

The fact is that deep rooted institutional obstacles are a major barrier keeping women from obtaining and securing the most powerful, prestigious, and highest-grossing jobs, whether in the private or public sector, regardless of qualifications or achievements. Undoubtedly, these issues need to be addressed more urgently.

While creating the conditions to unlock the full potential of women in Africa may be complex and multifaceted, there is much that can be done - in the immediacy - to increase the number of women on corporate boards in Africa, in recognition of the role women play in sustainable growth.

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