Africa’s largest bank by assets has sponsored a key debate about the rights and opportunities of women in the continent.
Standard Bank supported ‘The Big Debate’, which took place on Thursday 4 October in London’s City Hall. The event was organised by the charity Send a Cow, which works with smallholder farmers – mainly women – in six African countries. The charity provides a package of training and support in sustainable farming, business skills and gender and social inclusion.
The debate, entitled “Closing the Gap: How can gender equality be achieved in Africa?’ was chaired by journalist and feminist Rosie Boycott. Panellists included Dr Mary Ellsberg, the Founding Director of the Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University, Joyce Majiwa, a prominent Kenyan lawyer and trustee of Send a Cow Kenya, and writer Minna Salami. Standard Bank was also represented with senior executive Pindie Nyandoro, Regional Chief Executive of Southern and Central Africa also appearing on the panel.
Tina Monro, Head of Human Capital of Standard Bank Wealth International said: “Although Standard Bank has a strong focus on gender equality, it remains the case in Africa thatfewer girls than boys go to school, women earn less money than men for paid labour and lack equal access to land and resources. Reports show that this discrimination costs Africa more than $100 billion a year.
“Meanwhile, the UN estimates that giving women farmers equal access to resources could increase yields by 20-30%, feeding up to 150 million hungry people. So why, when the benefits are so clear, are women in Africa still held back? And what can be done about it? This debate, which we were proud to sponsor, tackled many of those questions.”