Methil Renuka, Managing Editor of Forbes Woman Africa. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)
Methil Renuka, Managing Editor of Forbes Woman Africa. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Summit to tackle the problems facing women amid Covid-19

By Karen Singh Time of article published Mar 8, 2021

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Durban - Leading women from around the world will come together to discuss the challenges women face, and possible solutions to them, at the 2021 Forbes Woman Africa Leading Women Summit.

The summit is being held virtually this year and has the theme, Africa Reloaded: The Power of The Collective. It starts today and will feature discussions on global issues affecting women.

The managing editor of Forbes Africa and Forbes Woman Africa, Renuka Methil, said the Covid-19 pandemic had deepened existing inequalities and disproportionately affected women and girls.

“It has hampered efforts to build a gender-equal world, but now is the time more than ever for humanity to come together and for the power of the collective,” she said.

Liberian women’s rights activist Cornelia Kruah-Togba, one of the panellists, said the pandemic had exposed the need for urgency in addressing issues of abuse and domestic violence against women.

“Domestic violence is a greater pandemic, but it has taken the confinement of the world to produce enough silence for the screams of women to be heard,” she said.

Another panellist, Deloitte Africa board chairperson Ruwayda Redfearn, said the Covid-19 pandemic had changed the ways in which many women worked and lived. She said in a recent global study by Deloitte, nearly 82% of women surveyed said their lives had been negatively disrupted by the pandemic.

Nearly 70% of women who had experienced these disruptions were concerned about their ability to progress in their careers.

Redfearn said gender statistics linked to financial performance, business success and gender diversity should be central to better decision-making by business and government to achieve gender equality and diversity.

She said this should be achieved not only in the workplace but in societies. “As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, we should not only celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but more importantly, we should continue to challenge the gender inequality gap, which still exists in our societies,” said Redfearn.

Redfearn said the summit provided an important platform.

“Leading women from across the continent can come together under this ‘new normal’ to choose to challenge the many barriers women still face, while coming up with actionable solutions that can be taken in building a more resilient future,” she said.

Topics to be discussed include, Private equity: Still a man’s world?, The lost generation: The gendered impact of Covid-19 on education, and Warriors in health care: What’s life like on the frontline?.

Other panellists include local explorer Saray Khumalo, Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, International Monetary Fund chief economist Gita Gopinath and former Nigerian Finance minister and the first female African director-general of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The Mercury

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