International Women’s Day was first recognized by the United Nations in 1975, but its origins can be traced back to the Socialist Party of America who first observed the day in New York on February 28, 1909. Fast track to 2019, and its refreshing to see how the occasion is gaining momentum as not just a day for feminists and gender activists to gather, but as a highly inclusive date to engage women in every imaginable way. Here are our top 5 initiatives that we found most attention grabbing across Africa this year.
Forbes Africa Leading Women Summit (South Africa)
Nothing says IWD like honouring women who have proven themselves as pioneers and pacesetters in their various industries, by having them converge from across the continent to celebrate and rub minds. This is exactly what this summit was. It was open to the public at a slightly steep price tag, but staying true to Forbes ethos, the turn out was every inch the ultimate female networking haven. Some of the highlights of the event which had Naomi Campbell as its keynote speaker, included Nigerian new media icon Linda Ikeji taking up the mic to share her journey, and power women such as Bellanaija’s Uche Pedro and South African athlete Caster Semenya being honoured for the legacies they are building for African women.
Attended by over 50 guests, the event focused on stimulating conversation around this year’s theme, Balance for Better. Spearheaded by the magazine’s Editor in Chief and author Tewa Onasanya, this event was more about practical engagement and idea exchange in an intimate setting.
Adey Soile “More than a Bloom Campaign” (Nigeria)
Nigerian women’s wear brand Adey Soile put together a campaign that incorporated 8 accomplished and inspiring women in a photo shoot, with the aim of contributing a percentage of proceeds from sales of the dresses modeled to WARIF. WARIF is one of Nigeria’s foremost anti-sexual violence organizations. This campaign included Nigerian event planner Funke Bucknor, Manager of champagne brands for Moet Hennessy Nigeria Elizabeth Pam, stylist and creative entrepreneur Latasha Ngwube, photographer Yagazie Eguare, actress and producer Lala Akindoju, investment banker Temilade Aduroja and founder of TheVimbai.com Vimbai Mutinhiri.
Sheroes of Our Time (Ghana)
Distinguished media queen and women’s empowerment advocate Anita Erskine premiered another season of her TV show titled Sheroes of Our Time, a platform that engages a global discussion on what it takes for African women to lead. This season, she spotlights the innovative ways women are using to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women. The show premieres every Sunday at 12:00pm on ABN UK Television, Sky Channel 456.
Kenyan Women March (Kenya)
Women in Nairobi, Kenya took advantage of the occasion to protest the rising rate of domestic violence, sexual attacks, discrimination in jobs and wages, and the lack of punishment for perpetrators. The demonstrators called on the government to come up with an action plan.
“There is a war against our bodies, there is a war against Kenyan women and together we are raising our voices to say no to this femicide and violence against women” said Renoh Amollo, an activist who took part in the march.