South Africa Day 3 – Toward a Platform for Women’s Voice and Agency
With Global Ambassadors and mentees settling into their new mentorships, enriched by the presence of Vital Voices Global Leadership Network (GLN) members, the program bridged to collaboration on the strategic dialogue, “Transforming Presence into Collective Power: A Platform on Women’s Voice and Agency.”
The sessions on voice and agency were the kick-off of a long-term effort to mobilize women leaders to take action in their own communities, while advancing the debate on the value of women’s leadership and contributing to the discussion around the post-U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Beginning with an exercise in defining “agency” for the women gathered, an expansive discussion landed around one’s ability to make choices, and to benefit from the outcomes of those choices. Those outcomes can include control of resources, freedom of movement, family decision-making, and freedom from violence. Connecting these to a future platform for action will be the ongoing work of the Global Leadership Network in consultation with Global Ambassadors and others.
Vital Voices Senior Fellow Mayra Buvinic, pioneer on gender research and former head of gender and development at the World Bank, presented a global overview of the impact of agency for women as decision-makers in the family, as members of board of directors, and as elected or appointed members of legislative bodies. This sparked a productive day of brainstorming and commitment needed to build consensus on the platform goals and objectives.
Friday is the final day of the Cape Town program — a public forum and luncheon hosted by Vital Voices and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, “Emerging Trends in Women’s Global Leadership.” A full recap of the day’s discussion of what a global women’s leadership agenda could mean will be posted soon.