African Women on Board Eyes a Global Audience

By Vanessa Obioha

The non-profit organisation, African Women on Board (AWB) is set for their global launch in New York, USA. The launch will happen during the 74th United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development that is slated for Thursday, 26 September, 2019.

Positioning itself as a mouthpiece for women in Africa and in the diaspora, AWB aims to advance the narrative of contemporary women and girls that is often stifled by cultural stereotypes, and improve realities by harnessing the strengths of strategic partnerships to bring about a positive change in their career lives.

Founder of AWB, Dr. Nkiru Balonwu highlighted the role of women’s contribution towards the betterment of economies around the world and the need for African women to actively participate in decision-making at every level and sphere.

“Women around the world are having a moment in history where their stories and experiences are being brought to the global consciousness. Unfortunately, the perspectives and narratives of African women have been left out of this conversation almost entirely.”

She continued on the importance of bringing women to the forefront in order for them to take on roles.

 “We’ve had a lot of meetings with different boards; most of the workers are made up of men. And when we had the conversation with them, they said, ‘oh, we can’t find qualified women.’ And so for us… there are really so many qualified women, but it is also about us women putting ourselves forward, bring that narrative out, having women saying ‘we are qualified, see us’ as opposed to wanting to be called.”

With this launch at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), AWB hopes to bolster local programming efforts that spotlight African women’s roles across various industries. Some of the ways it plans to achieve this include changing the perception of women and girls; strengthening ties between African women and girls; influencing government policies to positively impact women; positioning female role models to influence young girls; and striking a balance in leadership roles by fast tracking women into leadership roles.

In order to effectively meet these targets, AWB trustee ChiomaAgomo emphasized on the role of male allies in actualising these goals.

“The game changing principle with AWB is their emphasis on recruiting allies from all background – female and male in their workplace – to advance narratives and improve realities for African women and girls. The importance of including male allies in this larger effort for all cannot be understated.”