“Africa must close it’s gender gap in order to succeed” - Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women.
In Africa, gender equality has been identified as a key area in driving social and economic development. According to a recent UNDP Report, guaranteeing gender equality and empowering women and girls is key to unlocking Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Since 2016, we have trained young people and SMEs living in Africa via our Digital Skills for Africa program to help them find jobs and grow their businesses. Our digital skills training has been offered in 29 countries across Africa, with over a million people recording business growth, starting new businesses, finding jobs or growing in their current jobs. To date, we have trained more than 3 million people, 48% of which are women.
This year, we are playing our part in the contribution to women empowerment and we will be expanding the reach of our Grow with Google programs in SSA to focus on women empowerment as a key pillar. We aim to empower more women with the right skills, coaching, mentorship and community support to access opportunities.
As part of this commitment, we’re expanding our Womenwill initiative in Africa, to provide more support to women looking to take advantage of technology to grow. We will be adding 18 new Womenwill chapters across Sub-Saharan Africa to bring the total number of chapters to 25, with more to launch in coming weeks. Through these chapters, we will be helping more women on the continent build skills, find inspiration, and connect with each other through trainings, events and advocacy. Our Womenwill chapters will also serve as a platform for driving conversations promoting gender equality to benefit everyone.
We are introducing these chapters today at 3 simultaneous events in Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg in honor of International Women’s Day. Over the course of this week, we will engage with over 5000 women on the continent.
At these events, we will also be launching a short film titled ‘Women will lead, create and inspire’, which highlights the rise of women in Africa, through the eyes of 6 top female African musicians. The stories of Simi, Teni the Entertainer; Sho Madjozi, Lady Zamar, Shekhinah and Muthoni Drummer Queen, show the power of constantly learning and upskilling oneself. Our goal is to inspire women to make the most of technology to build skills, get inspired, and connect with each other through trainings, events and community.
It is crucial that we have those conversations, and take action to promote gender equality in Africa. The late secretary general of the UN, Kofi Annan once said “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.'' We agree!
To learn more about our programs in Africa, please visit www.grow.google/intl/ssa