Africa Rising: the role of diaspora and African women

Africa Rising: the role of diaspora and African women

Last thursday, a conference took place in the House of Lords. The conference was about the role of African women in the diaspora.  It was hosted by the Rt.Hon. Baroness Verma, join by the legendary South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka who is also UNICEF and Roll Back Malaria Goodwill Ambassador and Founder of Princess of Africa Foundation. Other guests at the panel were Justina Mutale–  African woman of the year, international women’s think thank  spokesperson and founder of positive runway, Jacqueline Onalu–  Human rights lawyerand legal trainer, trainer for community development initiatives, Deborah Owhin- Founder and CEO of made equal gender equality consultant, Chioma Agwuegbo– Social media strategist, founding editor of Ynaija2015, Melissa Powys-Rodrigues– chairperson of the South African chamber of commerce UK, Dr. Tititlola Banjoko- Director of Africarecruit and , member of NHS international group, Kate Anolue- Founder  of forum for African women in Politics, also former mayor of the London borough of Enfield, Dr. Anna Vanderpuye- CEO of Africa business roundtable ( NEPAD BUSINESS GROUP UK CHAPTER), and finally  Sherry Dixon- Founding director of women on the crossroads.

The role of the African woman in Africa and in the world has always been questioned. Do African women from the diaspora and the ones living in Africa participate in the development of mainly Africa and the world? Chioma, believes that African women should get more involve in media, social media simply because the use of social media is vital for development and cheaper. According to Chioma women should be careful in the way they are using social media, as it also has its negative sides  i.e. Bullying, sextapes. When the sextapes comes out,  the woman is often blame. This indicates wehther we like it or not that unsciously the woman is seen as the gender for morality and to whom lots of responsibilities are been thrown at.  The same way social media can be use to promote it can also be use to destroy. “the simple way to define social is people on the left, people on the right and technology in the middle” Chioma Agwuegbo.

Ms Anolue believes that women should get more involve into politics. The election of  president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia 2006 was a wake up call for African women and were they place in society is. In some African countries, the place of the girl in most houses is in the kitchen. Even when it comes to studying women are expected to chose subjects that are related to taking care of people. President Johnson has shown not only to Africa but also to the world that the place of a woman doesn’t have to be in the kitchen, woman can have more responsibilities and be at the head of a country. Politics is the door to everything and also an opportunity to acquire other skills.  “Women should learn what politics is about and get involve in it, women have power and leadership” – Ms. Kate Anolue.

Is the phenomenon of Africans running to the west for a new job and better life still going on? It is hard to say as we see more and more Africans migrating to other Africans countries for a better live and there is this concern for Africans wanting to be part of the development of Africa.  As Dr. Banjoko founder of FindingAjobinAfrica said ” we have to put ourself (Africans) forward, Africans should look after each other, i.e. Ebola crisis”. There is been a huge number of non-Africans volunteering to assist hospital where the epidemic is affecting hundreds of people, compare to Africans from the diaspora in the health department. Black women in general tend to lack confidence according to Cherry Dixon it may be due to what we were told where we growing up ( don’t dress up, you can’t do this because of your background etc…).

Based on my opinion of a young professional black African lady, I have to agree that the role and the participation of the black woman in the world and in Africa is not well known. Is it because of the lack of the media talking about it or is it that black women in particularly black African women are not much involved?

Danielle Foe

Parliamentary Researcher