The gender gap is often highly pronounced in emerging countries like Angola, creating an imbalance in opportunity, earning potential, and prosperity. In fact, the entire African continent is often deemed a laggard, despite it being home to vast natural resources and a burgeoning pool of talent. Now, countries in the region are slowly coming to terms with the flawed nature of gender-based inequalities whether it pertains to social justice, social equality, technology, or development. It is an ambitious undertaking combating all these elements simultaneously, but headway is being made on several fronts.For one thing, countries like Angola, which was once slumbering in backward isolation, is now enjoying a sense of renewed hope through massive infrastructure investment. Rising populations invariably place additional pressures on government to provide the necessary frameworks for assisting and supporting the populace. Over the years, Angola has faced many inefficiencies in terms of the provision of power, sewerage and sanitation, agricultural production, and telecommunications. These shortcomings weigh heavily on society, making it difficult to keep pace with other developed countries, which are barreling ahead into the 21st century. Technology holds promise for all of Angola's current shortcomings. It is also fundamental to the issue of women's human rights in the country.

Repressive countries, a.k.a. those that do not afford women equal rights under the law, can benefit immensely from greater liberalization of social norms and practices. These advancements may be as simple as providing mobile coverage in rural areas, allowing women and children to stay connected with urban areas via the internet or accessing online banking facilities, e-commerce opportunities, online education, etc. Women have long suffered at the hands of backward-thinking regimes and systems, limiting them to the status of homemakers with limited income earning potential. This too is slowly changing and will invariably result in a much larger population being able to access the internet in Angola.

Liberalization Of Regulation For The Removal Of Gender-Based Inequalities

Various initiatives are currently being spearheaded by leading playmakers in Angola. The empowerment of women is synonymous with the empowerment of society, and the proof of the pudding is evident for all to see. For example, one of Angola's leading catalysts for change — Isabel dos Santos — has witnessed firsthand how women can benefit from increased opportunity. She is first and foremost a mother and doting family woman. She is also a self-made success story. Dos Santos has encountered the effects of gender-based discrimination firsthand. She witnessed the subjugation of women across Africa, but she was taught to believe in herself and to pursue her career aspirations.

Dos Santos attended an all-girls boarding school and graduated with an electrical engineering degree. Her strong focus on education has served her well in her career, allowing her to lead some of the biggest companies in Angola. Over the course of the past 25 years, Dos Santos has been a beacon of hope and inspiration to countless women across Angola. She has encouraged, inspired, assisted, and supported women. As head of multiple multinational corporations, including various financial, fossil fuel, construction, and telecom industries, she is a power player in the business world. More importantly, Dos Santos is intently focused on philanthropic initiatives. Her companies contribute to many CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives, particularly empowerment projects for women and children.

How Is Angola Benefiting From Female Leadership?

Since females account for approximately half the population of any given country, it stands to reason any initiative aimed at empowering women will have dramatic consequences for society at large. This is precisely what Dos Santos has set about doing. As a leading business person, she is in a position to effect the changes she wants to see. Foremost in her mind is the notion that if she can empower one person to make a positive change, that will have a domino effect on other people. It is not surprising that Dos Santos is a firm believer in the power of technology to bring about enhanced productivity in her home country of Angola.

In fact, the digitalization of Angolan commercial infrastructure is a strategic objective near and dear to her heart. It is only through technological innovation and change that her home country can get up to speed with the rest of the global economy and become a competitive force in the world. In many cases, the solution is as simple as connecting people up to the internet, allowing a world of opportunity to open up. The internet is a great driver of change and prosperity, and Dos Santos believes that Angola can certainly benefit from developing e-commerce frameworks and electric vehicle technology. She also believes in business, a.k.a. entrepreneurship. She encountered multiple instances of gender-based discrimination throughout her life, often being sidelined in favor of her male colleagues when important business decisions were being made.

Isabel Dos Santos Encourages Women To Reach For Their Dreams

An outspoken equal rights activist, Dos Santos puts her money where her mouth is and supports urban and rural communities wherever she can. For example, she has been instrumental in establishing strawberry fields across Angola, allowing women to take an active role in their own financial future. She routinely speaks at the Africa Summit and the European Parliament, highlighting the importance of emerging technology, notably mobile and digital technologies, which will transform her home country from a sleeping giant to a key player in the global economy. This begins at grassroots level, building rural infrastructures, smart cities, transportation networks, and power networks. Dos Santos is no stranger to encountering opposition, yet she forges ahead, determined to live out her dream and empower women to achieve their dreams too.

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