An Open Mind and a Hard Back: Conversations with African Women Leaders

Report

An Open Mind and a Hard Back: Conversations with African Women Leaders is a summary of interviews conducted with over a dozen women leaders from Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zambia. The interviews took place from January to March 2013 by staff from the Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with women leaders in sub-Saharan Africa working across the fields of government, health, law, and social reform.

This brief seeks to summarize the content of the interviews, and to provide insights on ways women lead and govern in their respective communities and countries. The interviews paint a rich and complex portrait of leadership. The women interviewed are resilient and creative as they navigate and address challenges in largely patriarchal societies to reach positions of influence.

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