For women’s day, I wanted to commerorate amazing African women who’s contributions to society have gone virtually unnoticed by the larger media. (from left to right).
Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental NGO focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. In 1986, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. Furthermore she was an Honorary Councillor of the World Future Council.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (born 29 October 1938) is the 24th and current President of Liberia. She served as Minister of Finance under President William Tolbert from 1979 until the 1980 coup d’État, after which she left Liberia and held senior positions at various financial institutions. She placed a very distant second in the 1997 presidential election. Later, she was elected President in the 2005 presidential election and took office on 16 January 2006. She successfully ran for re-election in 2011. Sirleaf is the first and currently the only elected female head of state in Africa.
Graça Machel, (17 October 1945) is a Mozambican politician and humanitarian. She is the third wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela and the widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel. She is an international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and in 1997 was made a British dame for her humanitarian work. attend University of Lisbon in Portugal, where she first became involved in independence issues. In that university, she earned a scholarship from Romance Languages. She is fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and English, as well as her native Tsonga. She returned to Mozambique in 1973, joined the Mozambican Liberation Front(FRELIMO) and became a schoolteacher. Following Mozambique’s independence in 1975, Machel was appointed Minister for Education and Culture. She married Samora Machel the same year. Following her retirement from the Mozambique ministry, Machel was appointed as the expert in charge of producing the groundbreaking United Nations report on the impact of armed conflict on children.
Birtukan Mideksa (born 1975) is an Ethiopian politician and former judge. She is the leader of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party. she joined Addis Ababa University where she graduated from Law School with a Bachelors Degree in Law. She practiced law at the 3rd district of the federal judiciary. She joined the Rainbow Ethiopia: Movement for Democracy and Social Justice party and later Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) after a coalition of four parties. After election or 2005, her party won over a third of the seats. As a result, Birtukan was convicted of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and sentenced to life in prison. She was pardoned and later founded UDJ (Unity for Democracy and Justice) with the same principles followed by CUD.
Hafsat Abiola (born 1974 in Lagos) is a Nigerian human rights activist, founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), which seeks to strengthen civil society in Nigeria. Abiola graduated from Phillips Academy in 1992 and Harvard College in 1996 and later received an honorary doctorate from Haverford College. Abiola is the founder of China-Africa Bridge, which promotes mutually beneficial cross-cultural collaboration between China and Africa. In 2000, Abiola was honored as one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum. In 2003, she was elected as a Fellow of the Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. In 2006 she was nominated to be a founding councilor at the World Future Council. Also in, 2006 she raised funds by organizing performances of The Vagina Monologues in Nigeria. Since May 2008 she is also a Councilor at the World Future Council among 49 other well known personalities.
Niemat Ahmadi is the Darfuri Liaison Officer with the Save Darfur Coalition. A native of North Darfur, she promotes cooperation between the coalition and the Darfuri diaspora within the United States and abroad, focusing in particular on the role of Darfuri women in the peace process. She is a Founding Member of the Darfuri Leaders Network, a coalition of more than 20 domestic Darfuri organizations working to promote peace and security in Darfur.