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LEADERSHIP ORGANISATIONNEL ET HUMANITAIRE

Articles on : Organizational and Humanitarian Leadership (French & English) since 2017.

Subject: Understanding key challenges faced by Congolese women struggling for Leadership for decades (Up to 1995)

This is an extract of my Master’s during my researches for the “Thesis in Leadership”, that focused on "“Investigations on female leadership in male dominated professional institutions”. Case study of Goma town, North Kivu province in DR Congo, 2017. I decided to publish only this page for individual reasons, intending to share some of our researches regarding the way women and girls in the D R Congo for decades until this period where many efforts are joined by many organizations to enhance the women's participation in local decision-making. This launches new basis for current researchers to seek where are we in such process after linking the past to the present in their thinking and investigations.

  1. Past Literature on Women’s leadership
    1. Perceptions towards women’s leadership

For the past years, the motivation to leadership was not as what it seems to be similarly practiced on the present day. The Democratic Republic of Congo has been beset with a severe political conflict that has impacted on the freedoms of their people. Women, especially, were stigmatized by the long years of oppression applied by not only the colonizers but also former native leaders that ruled the country. The country is still considered young because it has just been transitioning into a developing state with independently transitioning governance. The past history of the country indicates that there were limited laws providing useful rights that can enable the society to promote their socioeconomic lifestyle.

            In the case of the women of the DR Congo, they were given limited provisions because the male-dominated society has been always greedy on grabbing all the power of governance. Authors from the past have not been able to recognize social developments that affect the rights of women. This is because there was not enough applied recognition that enables the past generations to enjoy life due to the lack of laws to protect their dignity and prosperity. This means that women were lacking self-confidence because there were only few ways that grant leaders to concentrate more on women’s opportunities and rights. Most leaders were only maximizing laws that are granted upon their power that is limited for their community for a short period of time as being supervised by past dictators and foreign colonizers.

            Despite the existence of the universal Declaration of Human rights (Articles 1; 2; 21; and 23), colonizers and former native leaders didn’t apply them for the welfare of both women and men.

1.2. Perceptions towards men leadership

The men were also spared from being granted their rights. Similarly, for women, men were also not provided the rightful need to protect their rights and dignities. During the past few decades, the DR Congo was governed by foreign settlers such as Belgium. There was little freedom experienced during the time when the country was colonized. This means that women were not the only ones who were repressed during the past decades. Reports of men being abused were not being documented and reported by the authorities as a way to keep themselves from apprehension from the leadership. Male residents were not able to regain their confidence because their minds were crowded with fear and repression brought about by the past abusive activities by their previous leaders.

            When Zaïre was declared as an independent country, leadership was exemplified by excessive brutality and oppression which was carried out from the past. The next generation of leaders who were natives of DR Congo perceived that it was the proper way to govern an entire society if they adapted the previous practices of enabling present societies to deal with issues that created a domino effect with other leaders. However, past leaders were not aware that there are consequences when they opted to follow the path where they were involved with an oppressive society. In this case, they continued to practice the limited method of governing their community by not creating new rules and regulations to sustain the needs of their political, social, economic, and security.

1.3. Perceptions towards women leadership history

As for the pre-colonial times, the DR Congo was not recognized as a whole nation. There were isolated parts of the area that was populated by tribes. These tribes were isolated from each other because they were self-governing against the aggression of other tribes. During this period, there were other types of leadership that were applied between the matriarch and patriarch of each tribe. Leadership and motivation have been competitive during this period because tribes developed how to become independent, due to their ability to establish new roles and responsibilities to take charge with their tribe. Each family member of a certain tribe was able to exchange roles with each other as an alternate way of providing and securing the needs of every member according to Grossman (2015).

            There was an alternate role of seniority being applied with each other in a certain tribe. If the current leader is unable to fulfill their duties and responsibilities, the next in line will take over as the new leader of the tribe. These are reasons that include being sick or suffering from a life-threatening illness, mutiny, corruption, and conniving with another tribe against their own tribe. This is regardless of any gender that will take over because any seniors are believed to be capable of leading their tribe. The reason behind is that seniors were highly respected and that they should be given the chance to become the role model of their tribe that can govern it for several years or decades if possible.

            However, things have significantly changed when colonizers were interested in governing several parts of Africa including DR Congo. European countries brought cultural shock to several regions across the African continent. Their mode of leadership was significantly advanced as compared with the primitive lifestyle of pre-colonial communities in Africa. Due to the sense of being in a primitive life, they began to be mesmerized by the advanced technological societies brought about by the western societies. Being overturned by a more advanced society, tribes were attacked and then mistreated by a community that were educated, trained, and more equipped with technologies in order to establish a new presence in their society. As a result, motivation to leadership was not being able to evolve due to an extreme community invasion that has led to a significant risk to the community’s degradation.

            Authors were concentrated on detailing about the significance of colonial history of DR Congo. It entails about the past practices wherein the country was being blanketed by the rules of past colonial pasts where leaders were able to track the evolution of the country’s political and social issues affecting their community. The basis for this issue is to detail past events that shapes up the country’s modern and probably its future impacts of its motivation and leadership that affects the role of female residents. This is a long-term process because there will be several factors that can be associated with the measurement of historical insight to relate with the past and present circumstances across the nation.

1.4. Origins of women’s rights movement in DR Congo

            Since before colonialism, women play an important role in Congo’s household structure. Elderly women were regarded as advisers to the senior patriarch of a certain clan or tribe. This form of leadership began when elderly women take pride when being involved in decision making. In the absence of patriarch, their female partner will take charge as the leader of the tribe or clan. Elderly women were highly respected and were given an outstanding dignity and value. However, during the colonial era, European settlers managed to exploit Congo into a country that was intensively abused. Women were begun to be treated as commodities because they simply cannot perform what males perform in physical sense.          

Women’s rights are one of the most important policies that made Congolese women to become motivated. Bravery and consistency with the implementation of policies are able to provide more opportunities for women in Congo to fight for their rights. As they continue to become brave and confident to establish civil activism or movement, they are unknowingly transforming themselves as leaders in their respective society. This transformation has been significantly slow, as the DR Congo has been known for its long-time conflict that was established by leftist groups. The DR Congo is one of the most promising countries in the world due to its high-end manpower. But with its ongoing conflicts that should have given women the opportunity to lead are slim due to incessant civil conflict as well as the rise of extremist groups. From 2000 and following the high presence of NGOs and Humanitarian actors and the United Nations agencies, sensitization campaigns for empowering women resulted in various women’s social movements and local associations. Main activities focused on how women could play a key role if struggling against sexual violence, SGBV, ancestral cultures which had reduced the women to the lowest level. Since then women joined political parties, civil society organizations and raised voice about their rights. However, men have continued to seem more discriminating them especially in rural areas where the need of intensive sensitizations are needed.

1.5. Women and the Pre-colonial era

            Pre-colonial era has been a period when the DR Congo was still unknown to western world. There were numerous tribes from other parts of Africa that settled along the riverbanks of Congo River. Settlers began to form their community as headed by the elder patriarch and matriarch. As different tribes flourished along the riverbanks, traditional routines were established. Males were tasked to hunt for food to feed for the family as well as creating protective barriers for their tribes. Females took the responsibility to organize households within their tribe. Females were being given the opportunity to lead their households while their male counterparts are away. They extend their skills from fixing homes, grooming their partners or family members, and then implementing efficient household chores.

            Years past, females began to help their male counterparts to do arts and crafting, improving designs, arts, and culinary natures. They were able to develop literary concept to improve their distinction as a tribe with the help of style and fashion with the way that they dress, body paint, and designing their homes. These things are just some of the most important issues that have been already developed by women during the pre-colonial era. There were no restrictions on how women lead other members of the tribe because they take part with the implementation of their clan’s security, interest, tradition, and lifestyle. The only restrictions are their role as women, being the light of the household to make sure that all things, lifestyle, and the quality of living are comfortable and safe.

1.6. Women and the Colonial era

            The DR Congo society has changed when westerners discovered Congo and the rest of the African continent. Thriving communities became disrupted because their lifestyle was overpowered by the western colonists. Several tribes were exploited such as by taking advantage of their manpower in order to extract natural resources for the colonizing country. The role of women significantly faded because they were overpowered by the western colonizers. Tribes that were attacked enslaved its people and made women to be permanent slaves. It was one of the worst-case scenarios that happened in DR Congo during the maritime exploration of European settlers. Leadership, rights, and dominance faded during the dark age of European colonization in DR Congo.

            Severe maltreatment of women in DR Congo led by foreigners has led to numerous isolated uprising against their abusers. Some women are brave enough to take their situation on the streets in order to let their community know more about the issues contemplating with the events that have led to their abuse. Abuse of women extended during the civil war in DR Congo, prompting more women to be living in slavery and being trafficked by organized crime groups. However, there were human rights activist groups-initiated investigations regarding the incidence of women who were abused so as to establish documentation that can be detailing the extent of damage as well as deprivation of women’s rights. This indicates that girls have struggled for centuries in order to claim their rights to be justified and to mitigate deprivation of their dignity.

1.7. Women and the Post-Colonial era

            After the European maritime exploration, the DR Congo remained as one of the poorest nations in the world due to the massive destruction and exploitation brought about by their former colonizer, which is Belgium. The country has now been left behind with no support from their colonizer to rebuild their lives as well as having no natural resources that were exploited and consumed by European settlers. Women returned back to their regressive state wherein this was a generation where illiteracy is high, and poverty is widespread across the nation. Female leaders from the past generations were already executed by European explorers so that they will stop any provocative acts of activism during the colonial times. There were no seniors that should have guided this generation to continue inspiring other women to become leaders.

            Civil war brought the DR Congo into another deep socio-political regression. Excessive fighting between rebel groups and government forces began. Establishment of armed groups was also circulating to remote parts of the DR Congo. Widespread violence was rampant, making the country being recognized as one the most dangerous in the world. For this reason, females suffered a significant social support because their country was still experiencing political illegitimacy brought about by incessant fighting between government forces and leftist groups. Although there were female individuals who have been trying to initiate activism, there were easily taken down by conservative individuals. The social welfare affecting females were deprived while the cultural and social patriarchy system in Democratic Republic of Congo regressed back into the ancient times.

1.8. Women and Recent development

            In the modern era, Democratic Republic of Congo has been already improving its political status because changing political administrations made numerous laws and policies that improved the safety of its residents. Although there were still areas around the country that has been experiencing civil unrest, the country has already formed their defense department in order to ensure that the safety is controlled and ensured. The economic situation of the country is now gradually improving its socio-economic status. Women are now given the right to fill areas where men dominated in various industries such as in politics, business, and infrastructure developments. The DR Congo has promising natural resources that are still waiting to be explored and exploited for economic reasons. The growing gross domestic product output of the country has seen to be emerging as one of the most promising in Africa.

            Year by year, there are few women that made several leadership recognitions due to their bravery and skills. There are influential female personalities that are now playing an important role for improving its society to be more socially and culturally diverse. Mass media has been exposing women from the DR Congo with ordinary talents. The patriarchy system affecting the country is now observed to be relaxing its rules because they can see that females can contribute productive activities and civic developments to any part of the country such as in Kivu. In the future, female continues to intensify its domination to close gender gap in terms of political, social, economic, and cultural developments.

2. Modern Literature on women leadership

2.1. Political women

The modern literature on the DR Congo is related with the application of different factors, which has been developed since it became a newly formed state. In terms of political literature, women have already been considered one of the most important participants to influence legal and ethical based decision makers. They weigh in measures to determine if there are laws that should be implemented. Ratifying laws paved the way for the female residents such as for those in the Kivu region to undergo transformation. One example is the gradual acceptance of female residents to take part with the political campaign on several nations across the nations, including the Kivu region according to McNeil (2010).

            There were female leaders who successfully became as the head of their communities because they are brave enough to dominate the male infested regions in their country. Even if there are some isolated cases of females who successfully became as leaders of some areas in Congo, they are now starting to influence their colleagues as well as their relatives to follow their achievements. First generation of female leaders is starting to show younger generations that they can start a new wave of leaders who will forever transform the politics of DR Congo. Male counterparts start to appreciate the achievements made by their female counterparts. Male leaders soon realized that females are successful as leaders because some of them brought a significant transformation to several communities that improved resident’s socio-economic integrity for a limited time according to Wille (2015).

2.2. Economic women

            In every local market, there are numerous female merchants who are selling perishable items to have a source of income. In dry markets, you can see that most women sell fresh fruits and vegetables in order to provide a source of fresh food markets for the local communities. In coastal areas such as in Kivu, females usually sell seafood products to the public because some residents are resorting to fishing to satisfy their source of income. While most women are seen in the markets selling perishable items, there are other females who sell non-perishable goods by establishing small-medium enterprise. Small players of retail business are populated by females that motivate other women to become productive and prosperous with their lives.

             However, big players in businesses are few corporations aiming to improve the country’s economic stability by creating chain of retail outlets that provide a decent way of living aside from living at home. There are some women who are the offspring of several powerful leaders that are opting to become more influential to their own society. Female leaders are the key players in DR Congo’s socio-economic promotion because there are promising ways for the female population to become more productive with their actions. Female business leaders are also diversifying their business from being as a food merchant to selling crafts as well as artworks. This is to diversify their ability to promote their business adventures as they are trying to become more productive in the retailing environment as mentioned by Kuepper (2010).

2.3. Women and Sociological environment

            The Female makes up at least 45% of the total population of DR Congo. This is similar to the population in Kivu region. They play an important role for being used as a voice to several communities so that there will be additional information facilitators to provide support and guidance for the rest of the community. Female residents are always motivated to explore new environment as well as applications to ensure that their community attains interpersonal relationships with their counterparts. Males are aware that females can close or narrow the gap between gender sensitivity issues so that social environment becomes more adhesive in terms of improving social interactions within the community. They need women because they represent empathy to promote communication and unity with other residents as well as visitors in their area.

            Interpersonal communication is an important practice that the female possesses because they contain emotional possession that is enabling the society to become interactive. They utilize sympathetic and empathetic relationship that seeks to improve their behavior as well as thinking ability with other individuals to improve their sense of belongingness with each other. As a female, the need to promote their presence as influential leaders enables other members of the society to become more concerned with the way they communicate with others. Communication prevents barriers to remain as a risk for the DR Congo’s interest to be engaged in misunderstandings because they can act as advisers to motivate other leaders that seeks to promote common interests on certain issues and practices.

2.4. Women and Security issues

            The review on security affects the role of women that is affecting the impact of security affecting DR Congo. Women play an important role for sustaining motivation to leadership as well as having the key to improve their lifestyle as they are going to participate with the defense forces of the country, since it is already governed by an independent state. There are schools that are offering courses to produce individuals who will be the representatives of the country’s security force. There are women fighters that are being employed by the government so that they can help to establish diversity within the defense force of the country to encourage other women to fight for their freedom as well as their country’s political and social jurisdiction against the negative elements of the society.

            Women take part for the development of security related tasks that are responsible for keeping the society productive while being secured by the security forces. The police force, army, navy, and air force are now gradually being filled up by the female population. The male dominated force of DR Congo’s defense department is now accommodating female fighters as a way to make another opportunity to defend their nation from any risk of being invaded by armed groups. They can take part with the rescue mission that involves debriefing female hostages in far flung areas. Women can also manage hostage taking situations wherein there are several women that are involved in initiating criminal activities in the country.

3. Joint efforts, major barriers and gaps for women and girl’s competition

3.1. Joint efforts for women and girl’s competition

The DR Congo has continued to have various organizations involved in empowering and encouraging women and girls through various activities. Researches indicated that the actual situation is a fruit of joined efforts. Comparatively to the previous years where the DRC government, local associations and local communities could not raise awareness on the representation of women in institutions, progress is visible even though many things need to be done. Here are organizations involved in the promotion of women’s participation : UNDP, WFP, FAO, Orange, TIGO, Mercy Corps, UNICEF, Caritas, SAUTI LA WA MAMA WA CONGOMANI, USAID, Croix-Rouge, SOFEPADI-Beni, Women for Women, AVSI, OXFAM GB, Association des barons américains (ABA); Save the Children, Ministère de genre-femme et Famille, UPDDHE/GL; DON BOSCO NGANGI, APROFIME, Human Right Watch, Seach for Common ground, PARDE, Care international, MONUSCO, Action Aid, la Dynamique des Femmes Juristes, l’Association des Femmes de Medias, Femme Plus, Alpha UJUVI, AFEM, ALERT INTERNATIONAL, MOISSON DE FEMME, PSPF, World Vision, ANAMAD, AIDES and   HOPE IN ACTION....

3.2. Major barriers and gaps for women and gaps competition

Based on the results of the research, an attention was focused on current challenges which need to be addressed as a main cause which biases female leadership. Results have categorized this issue in various types namely: patriarchal traditional system which limited girls’ education (i); balancing profession and family life (ii); chock between social expectations, criticism of female leadership and frustration (iii); lasting misperception of gender and Leadership (iv); stereotypes and discrimination (v); and the unpredictable socio political context (vi).

3.2.1. Patriarchal traditional system which limited girls’ education

The Congolese society has progressed under patriarchal system which has given various favors to boys including education. Traditional social expectations reduced the progress of girls in education. As result, the number of educated women aged between 45 and 70 should be listed among managers and leaders.  Before 1990, the North Kivu had few universities as many were established in Bukavu, Kisangani, Lubumbashi and Kinshasa. Limited funds for some families and patriarchal system led families to send boys instead of girls who remained near the family and studied up to the secondary school only.

3.2.2. Balancing profession and family life

Congolese families have attributed a high importance to the caring of children. Some of local women in Goma asserted that being a mother while dealing with professional activities is very challenging. Additionally, some of managers do not appreciate to hire women on pretext that they cannot perform well their duties. Researchers have indicated that some managers do not appreciate maternity leaves and part-time after the birth of a child. In this area, traditional gender expectations often still prevail. This has consequently influenced the understanding of many married people who prefer to leave their wives home caring for families instead of hiring childcare. During the research, it was revealed that some ladies who studied prefer taking care of their families while the husbands deal with business and other professional activities. In our discussions; 60% of women whose husbands had good jobs were satisfied of taking care of their families instead of working. Once, this has contributed in reducing the number of women who could get involved in leadership.

3.2.3. Chock between social expectations, criticism of female leadership and frustration

Generally, due to traditional and parental habits, the Congolese society expects from a lady politeness and humility. In the general understanding, a woman being leader or no should behave as an ordinary lady when at the meantime; her responsibilities of chief need her to act as leader. Women who are perceived to exhibit attributes that are more associated with men are resisted (Guerrero, 2011, p. 383). Prescriptive beliefs are how society thinks a man or a woman should act (such as courageous or gentle.) In addition to prescribed beliefs about gender, society also holds attitudes towards leadership traits (p. 383). Leadership traits that mirror the agentic style have long been supported as desirable and have been called the “think manager-think male effect” (Eagly&Sczesny, 2009, p. 26). In many countries, when women enter positions of leadership, they experience a deep-rooted complexity of expectations where they are preferred to exhibit communal traits as a member of the female gender but at the same time to exhibit agentic traits as a member of leadership.

This is a difficult balancing act where women are criticized both for being too masculine and being too feminine (p. 27). In DR Congo, such women can be discredited in her family of being more masculine or seen as traditionally male- or female-oriented (i.e. healthcare or education). As consequence, this creates stress and frustration for executive women who, despite their efforts, often experience attitudinal penalties by associates and subordinates for not conforming to the perceived role. These penalties may include poor evaluations, criticism, and social rejection (Eagly, idem p. 27). While remaining in fear of being criticized, men will therefore accelerate their climb up the corporate ladder, leaving women to slowly ride the glass escalator and to work through external perceptions (Eagly, ibidem p. 30).

3.2.4. Lasting misperception of gender and Leadership

Although research does not support the suggestion that leadership effectiveness is different between the two sexes, this misperception remains (Guerrero, 2011, p. 382; Rosener, 2008, p. 411). A society’s shared knowledge about what attributes men and women exhibit can be divided into two categories. Descriptive beliefs are how society thinks a man or a woman typically acts (such as gruff or chatty.). In DR Congo, the majority of men aged beyond 25 years grown in society were people attributed separate role to boys and girls. Boys identified themselves as fathers while girls were identified as people to be commanded.

The most common descriptors of the different expectations of men and women are “communal” versus “agentic.” Communal qualities are most often associated with women and include affection, helpfulness and gentleness. Agentic traits are most often associated with men and include assertion and control. These generalized expectations create a framework for widespread stereotyping in culture and in the workplace (Eagly&Sczesny, 2009, p. 24). This affected the whole society because research consistently demonstrates that current society sees leadership traits as closely resembling those which are usually attributed to men (Eagly&Sczesny, 2009, p. 25; Stelter, 2002, p. 90).

Gender biases that consider leadership qualities to be most closely related to male qualities obstinately persist in some organizational cultures and are difficult to overcome. Once, this justifies why many women even working in institutions could not have a major role of managers and high leaders when their percentage remains low comparatively to men.

3.2.5. Stereotypes and discrimination

In DR Congo, since the constitution legalized the representation of women for 30%, it suffices to have the 30% or approximate to justify that all the necessary has been done while some posts should be also filled by ladies. Prejudices are preconceived opinions that are not based on reason or experience (Collin, 2006, p. 310). Discrimination is the act of treating someone unjustly based on one’s prejudices (Colin, 2006, p. 120). Although prejudices and discrimination toward women in the workforce have diminished, they still exist strongly for women in senior positions (Simpson, 1997, p. 121). These issues, which surface as stereotypes, tokenism, sexism, and the framing of the current state of gender equality against the even greater inequalities of the past are all prevalent for today’s executive woman.

Women in high visibility roles are often stereotyped into “role traps,” which include the mother, the seductress, the pet and, for those whose management approaches are more directive than collaborative, the iron maiden (Simpson, 1997, p. 122). Compared to their male colleagues, the lack of female colleagues in management, women are also isolated and are often subconsciously viewed by others in institutions as symbolic gestures of the company’s goodwill efforts to promote equality. The advancement of a limited number of women into upper echelons of power has created a dynamic labeled “tokenism.” This is the interpretation that these few women in positions of power demonstrate equality of opportunity, when in reality, this is far from the truth (Schmitt, Spoor, Danaher, &Branscombe, 2009, p. 50).

3.2.6. The unpredictable socio-political context

The unwillingness of women to leadership can be explained by various causes as described previously. But the socio-political context of the DR Congo needs to be examined closely. Firstly, the argument that girls and women do not try is likely to be diminishing among intellectuals. The main explanation is because certified ladies have been competitively searching jobs where boys keep looking to be hired also. Meanwhile, the insecurity prevailing in rural areas where many armed groups are more active has been a major concern.

Girls can hesitate to reach some areas far from her family due to security reasons. Additionally, during armed conflicts which have characterized the DRC, girls and ladies were more vulnerable due to risks of sexual violence and other violations. As consequences, men take advance and leadership by accepting risky duty positions and thus keep leading.

Another issue is the political and social context where leaders are sometimes targeted either due to jealousy or due to social mutations. The DRC previous history was characterized by political disputes, rebellions, retaliations. Reason why, in previous social crises men were major key players, as for national heroes, great military fighters, political leaders, social leaders. The examples of Lumumba, Laurent Kabila, Mamadou Ndala, Gen. Bahuma, etc., have reduced motivation among some girls and women to take the lead based on high risks.

4. Conclusion

The question of the Congolese girl's leadership and its involvement in both private and public structures and institutions is an issue that concerns all social strata, both nationally and internationally. In the context of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and especially in North Kivu province, the focus on women and girls’ leadership aimed at presenting the real situation from 2015 to 2016.

                For the current low progrees, it should be noted that the question of the invisibility of girls in the private and public structures and institutions of the DRC has always been and continues to be a matter of concern. This situation seems to have a great impact especially in areas where most of the population is influenced by traditional culture, without excluding other corollary factors. These include poverty, the income and employment crisis, inadequate and docility of wages and the rural exodus.                               

                 The equality demanded by most of our respondents does not only mean the inclusion of young girls in both private and public structures and institutions. It further includes the process of engaging girls and men alike in the preparation and co-adoption of mechanisms for the perpetuation of the participation of girls in the private and public structures and institutions of the DRC. The process of inclusion and enlargement is the decisive condition for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 in Congo-Kinshasa.                                                                                         Based on actual efforts made in promoting Gender inclusion, we can expect undoubtedly and unconditionally to a socio-political and economic change in favor of promoting the girl's leadership. Not only will there be an increase in the numbers of girls exercising political power but also in the implementation of the existing legal arsenal on the rights of girls and women. This change, which takes the revolutionary form and the evolutionary form, is confirmed in this work. This started from not only the presentation of the statistics of women and girls in a chronological way but also the inverse of the values and the conceptions of the promotion of the leadership of the girl in DRC.

Women and girls remained under represented in institutions from both private and public sectors.

Family, school, academic institutions, media, workplaces and living, are appropriate spaces for injections of new standards and leadership of the girl. These channels of socialization should be exploited for a redefinition of the relationships of the girl's leadership, in order to improve the perception of the role of the girl's leadership. A redistribution of political roles in line with the current context is needed to reduce the passivity of women and girls in relation to both private and public activities.

Schools and academic institutions which participate in the socialization of the girl, will have to revise its curriculum in order to integrate the gender dimension for the emergence of a generation of girls and women who are ready to participate in the same way as men in various sectors.

Additionally, the media is characterized by a double deficiency: the image of women is often negative and the presence of women in both private and public debates is marginal, even when these debates are led by women journalists. To remedy this double deficiency is important to reform the information system so as to ensure public visibility for girls so that they can express themselves as much as men.

National and international organizations once aware of the low representation of women and girls in both public and private sectors should review their communication strategies. Firstly, vast campaigns should be coupled with permanent sensitization activities targeting schools, parents, managers, women and girls, politicians, civil society members, and other actors. Sensitization should fight discrimination, self-estimation, stereotypes, and false local perception to move closer to the grassroots level to bring about significant changes in favor of the active participation of girls. To achieve a goal, it’s imperative for institutional, legislative and associative palliatives to bridge the gap between girls and women through real activities. There is a need for a synergy between the State, civil society, local communities, girls and women to join efforts during a long period since social transformation is a process

4.1. Recommendations

In view of results of the research which has focused on defies and challenges regarding the women and girl’s leadership in DRC and particularly in Goma/North Kivu, these are main recommendations:

4.2. To the DRC government and NGOs :

  • Promulgate and implement laws sanctioning any kind of discrimination of female in job process and professional life;
  • Establish security measures and mechanisms to ensure the protection of women and girls’ candidates for high posts.
  • Fund local sensitization projects coupled with advocacy at root level and in public and private sectors to empower girls and women and promote their self-confidence in all domains of life.

4.3. Political Parties and Local community Leaders

  • Enhance massive and regular civic education for population and promote the participation of women and girls in local leadership as well as in electoral processes.
  • Actively conduct social dialogues on equal opportunities for children (male and female) in education, social activities, from an early age.
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  20. Zhang, S., Schmader, T., & Forbes, C. (2009). “The effects of gender stereotypes on women's career choice: Opening the glass door” in M. Barreto, M. Ryan, & M. Schmitt (Eds.), The glass ceiling in the 21st century: Understanding barriers to gender equality (pp. 125-150). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  21. http://www.radiookapi.net/2016/01/26/actualite/justice/rdc-les-viols-portes-devant-les-tribunaux-ont baissé-denviron-25-en
  22. https://www.mediacongo.net/article-actualite-41645_elections_d_apres_une_enquete_de_cered_gl_la_participation_politique_de_la_femme_congolaise_reste_un_defi.html
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