1) Why did STRATEGIES! choose women’s empowerment as a focus area ?
STRATEGIES! is a consulting firm in leadership and management. We work on efficiency and effectiveness issues in organizations.
In all societies, women represent at least 50% of the population. If they are not fully integrated into decision-making bodies, this society does not fully use its resources, it is neither efficient nor effective. The absence of women in leadership is a collective loss for the society concerned, but also for individual women who do not reach their potential in terms of productivity or contribution to the evolution of society.
Investors of STRATEGIES! are predominantly women. As a company run by a woman, we have taken the decision to offer opportunities to women from the very beginning, and to raise our partners’ awareness on the need to put women in leadership positions so that they fully participate in the organization’s development. Several studies show that organizations perform better when women work in senior positions. Diversity is a key element of performance. When people from different backgrounds and with a diversity of perspectives work together, there is complementarity in their approaches and individual and collective performance improve. So, there is an economic interest in women's participation in leadership.
2) What does STRATEGIES! think about women’s empowerment in Africa ?
Regarding the situation of women, the African continent is paradoxical. African women are the most active in economic production and provide agricultural production. However, they are at the bottom of the social, economic and political scale. They are the least educated, they have a difficult access to decision-making positions and despite the enormous work they provide, they have the lowest incomes. Our continent does not really invest in improving working conditions and training women. Yet, if we decide to strengthen women’s capacities, Africa would automatically see a growth in its economic performance.
Fostering women's empowerment in Africa is not only about the economic sphere, but also about the political one, where decisions affecting all other spheres are taken and the social sphere where interpersonal relationships define women's role in Society are built. At the grassroots level, women's personal capacities must be strengthened, they must have self-confidence and find their inner leader. They must know that they are the foundation of society through the activities they carry out on a daily basis.
Moreover, it is important for us Africans to relearn our history. In Pre-colonial societies, women played a key role in making decisions about the community’s life. Even today, in certain African communities, there are traces of this vision of society: queen mothers, secret societies of women, etc. It is important to be inspired by these models in order to build more equal societies. At STRATEGIES !, we start from our African history to design leadership. STRATEGIES! learns from African women leadership to train clients and partners. We rely on female figures who have made history like the Queen Nzinga of Angola or Amina of Zaria.
We also teach the leadership of contemporary African women: entrepreneurs, scientists, politicians, etc. Being inspired by these people of yesterday and today allows women all over the world to strengthen their personal development and build their leadership within organizations.
Each African regional institution and every African country must be able to take these different aspects into account in order to create the conditions that enable women to fully contribute to the sustainable development of society.
3) What type of services does STRATEGIES! provide to organizations that need to strengthen women's leadership?
Over the years, STRATEGIES! has developed expertise in women's leadership. The services provided in this area are diverse. We help our clients build a true diversity policy. It begins with recruitment. As part of organizational development, STRATEGIES! works with its partners to remove structural barriers that in most organizations slow the advancement of women and thus the productivity of these organizations. STRATEGIES! often lectures on the development of women's leadership.
Finally for the leader woman herself, STRATEGIES! offers personalized training and coaching sessions to help women leaders truly improve their abilities.