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While across the board exist sharp differences in operation, structure, and regulation, gender diversity and women’s empowerment emerge as two of the shared values embraced by both public and private sectors. Yet, the numbers tell us high representation of women in one sector might not transfer to other sectors in a country.

The Women in Public Service Project is pleased to release a toolkit by Wilson Center Distinguished Fellow and former President of Malawi, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda.  Building on the recommendations in her policy paper "From Day One: An Agenda for Advancing Women Leaders in Africa," the toolkit is designed to inspire and provide examples of how policymakers, civil society organizations, community leaders, and the international community can work together to develop a critical mass of women leaders in political positions across Africa to ensure good governance and economic stability, and greater stability overall.

Public administration is the foundation of functioning government. Civil servants plan, prepare, and execute the policies that impact the daily lives of the citizens they serve. Historically, women have played a significant role in the civil service due to factors such as lower barriers to entry, job security, and cultural norms. Data from 111 countries reveals 45 of those studied have reached parity or majority representation in civil service positions. Yet a closer look at where women are within the civil service tells a familiar story: women are less likely to be serving in decision-making positions than men. 

On June 30, Distinguished Fellow Dr. Joyce Banda met with a group of 70 MBA students from University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Affairs to discuss women’s leadership in the broader context of regional affairs in Africa. She shared her personal path to various leadership positions in the government and highlighted the need for women in public office.

Dr. Dawuni's research will focus on women in judiciaries across Africa within national jurisdictions and on international courts.

As we draw closer to an equal and inclusive society, women are increasingly influential, visible and vocal in the political and economic life of their countries. It is vital to proactively incorporate this reality into international public policy.