Girls and Women

These powerful activists are at the frontlines of gender equality

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Take action for women everywhere

This IWD, we’re passing the mic to African activists who are doing incredible work for gender equality. Together, they’re standing by a bold demand to world leaders, urging them to make real progress. Get to know more about the fantastic co-signers backing this demand, including our spokeswomen!

Spokeswomen:

Melene Rossouw

Melene became an Attorney in the High Court of South Africa in 2009. In 2017, she founded the Women Lead Movement to educate, empower, and inspire women. They lead social change in their communities through human rights and leadership training. The movement also shows women how to publicly campaign and hold the government accountable for the promises they make to their citizens.

Dr Marlene-Joannie Bewa

Dr. Marlene-Joannie Bewa is an accomplished HIV/AIDS advocate from the Benin Republic. She founded the Young Beninese Leaders Association, a youth and women-led organisation. This program has trained more than 3000 girls and women on sexual and reproductive health, leadership, and entrepreneurship. She is also a “Goalkeeper for the Goals” for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Wadi Ben-Hirki

Wadi Ben-Hirki founded the Wadi Ben-Hirki Foundation when she was 17 years old. The foundation seeks to impact marginalised and disadvantaged communities through humanitarianism and activism. The charity organisation runs many campaigns, mostly in Northern Nigeria. She serves on the African Leadership Institute Youth Advisory Board and was the Special Guest from Africa at the 2018 Y20 Summit.

Lola Omolola

Lola Omolola is the founder of FIN, a private Facebook group that connects nearly 1.7 million women from across the world. She began the group in 2014, searching to create a virtual support network with other Nigerians after Boko Haram kidnappings. The group quickly grew into a hub for women’s issues, offering its members a safe outlet to discuss the struggles they face and connect with other women who share those experiences.

Samira Haruna Sanusi

Samira Haruna Sanusi is a Sickle Cell Awareness advocate and WASH advocate. She is the founder of the Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation, which builds awareness and supports hundreds of people with medical bills. She’s also the co-founder of WAFSLI Nigeria (Water for Sustainable Living). She is the author of S is for Survivor, a memoir about her personal experiences with Sickle Cell Anaemia.

Togola Hawa Séméga

Journalist Togola Hawa Séméga is on a mission to provide the young people of Mali with informative news and unite them. She achieves this with a creative mix of journalism, rap and humour. Kunafoni, her website and WebTV series, gets young people involved in social issues while also building their confidence.

Dieynaba Sidibe

Dieynaba is Senegal’s first female graffiti artist. She uses her art to show solidarity and highlight the issues women face. Health and access to education are some of the issues she’s covered through her art.

Naomi Tulay-Solanke

Naomi Tulay-Solanke is the Founder and Executive Director of Community Health Initiative. This non-governmental organisation in Liberia provides reusable and affordable health products for women and girls, empowering them to take control of their reproductive health. She’s also launched PADS4GIRLS, which trains women to produce sanitary pads.

Chmba Ellen Chilemba

Chmba is the Founder and Executive Director at Tiwale, a youth-led organisation supporting Malawian girls and women. She started Tiwale at 17 to end the vicious cycle of child marriage through economic and educational opportunities. Tiwale has supported over 250 women so far!

Fridah Githuku

Fridah Githuku is the Executive Director of GROOTS Kenya, a national grassroots movement led by women. The movement gives grassroots women visibility and decision-making power in their communities. They have invested in nearly 3,500 women-led groups across Kenya, sparking local, human-led change. As an Equal Measures 2030 partner, Fridah is passionate about the role of land rights in achieving gender equality.

Aya Chebbi

Aya Chebbi is an award-winning Pan-African feminist. She is the founder of the Youth Programme of Holistic Empowerment Mentoring, coaching the next generation of positive change agents. She’s also the founder of the Afrika Youth Movement, one of Africa’s largest Pan-African youth-led movements. She is the first African Union Youth Envoy and the youngest diplomat at the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Cabinet.

More Co-signers:

Lydia Charles Moyo, TV and Radio Presenter at Femina Hip TV
Elizabeth Wanja Ngeth, Kijiji Afrika
Olaoluwa Abagun, Founder of Girl Pride Circle
Mercy Abang, United Nations Journalism fellow
Karimot Odebode, ONE Champion
Dr. Stellah Wairimu Bosire, Executive Director of the Kenya Medical Association
Dolapo Olaniyan, Founder of The UnCut Initiative
Scheaffer Okore, Chief of Trade & Investment for the Pan African Chamber of Commerce
Diana Ninsiima, Senior Program Manager & Gender Lead at DOT Tanzania
Salimatou Fatty, a GPE youth advocate and founder of the Salimatou Foundation for Education
Mildred Ngesa, Head of Communications for FEMNET
Memory Kachambwa, Executive Director for FEMNET
Mama Koité Doumbia, Chair Member for FEMNET
Julie Cissé, Coordinator for GIPS WAR
Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, one of the 120 under 40 for the New Generation Leaders in Family Planning
Mylene Flicka, a Women’s Rights Writer
Mercy Juma, Broadcast Journalist and winner of the Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling
Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, Founder of the Stand to End Rape Initiative
Amina Abdulazeez, ONE Champion
Hauwa Liman, Founder of Inspire for Impact
Linet Kwamboka, CEO of DataScience LTD
Saran Keïta Diakite, President of Malian Advocacy Group on SDGs
Sagara Saran Bouare, President of Women in Law and Development
Maimouna Dioncounda Dembele, Human Rights Activist
Mariam Diallo, Director of the Association for Women’s Leadership and Development
Nana Toure, Secretary General of the Sahel Youth Network
Valérie Traoré, Executive Director of Niyel
Imameleng Masitha, Communications and Advocacy Officer for The Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition
Refilwe Ledwaba, Founder of the Girl Fly Programme in Africa Foundation
Martha Muhwezi, Senior Programme Coordinating Officer for the Forum for African Women Educationalists
Anta Fall Basse Konté, Director of the Forum for African Women Educationalists Senegal
Danedjo Hadidja, President of APAD and an International Women’s Health Coalition partner.
Françoise Kpeglo Moudouthe, Founder of feminist blog Eyala
Nana Semuah Bressey, nurse

Want to stand in solidarity with these activists? Add your name to the open letter here.

Take action for women everywhere

Dear World Leaders,

We are the women at the frontlines of the fight against gender inequality and global poverty.

Every day we see the determination and dignity of girls and women facing down the toughest challenges. We see real advances and the power of people to achieve change. We won’t surrender this fight, but we need you to play your part.

You promised to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030, but at the current rate of progress, this will take 108 years. This is unacceptable. We need genuine progress, not grand promises.

We want implementation and accountability at every level - from this year’s G7 Summit to the Global Fund Replenishment; from our African Union leaders to our community leaders. We will be looking for your actions not your words; for funding to follow promises; and policy to turn into practice. It’s both the right and the smart thing to do for everyone.

To accelerate progress men must demand change with us so that we rise united not divided. And women must have a seat at the decision-making table – because you can’t change what you don’t see.

We’re not looking for your sympathy, we’re demanding your action. Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.

Yours,

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