Photograph — United Nations

Despite the temporary setback suffered by women around the world, many others are focused on empowering women economically, as a way of ensuring they can enable future generations to be better. After all, when one woman is economically independent, her future seeds will prosper in same vein. The United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Women Economic Empowerment held its first meeting on March 15, 2016, where members made meaningful contributions towards the panel’s goal.

According to the Secretary of State of the United Kingdom, Justine Greening, it appears that equal rights (which is very popular amongst women activists) are not the only area women need to fight for. “I am hugely proud to be part of the first-ever meeting of the UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, which marks a major step forward in the battle to close the gender gap in economies around the world. We now need to work hard to make sure it delivers real change for the world’s poorest women.”

Africa is currently the worst hit by economic challenges affecting women and children. So, naturally, the African continent is included in the process of this high level meeting where decisions will be taken to foster economic strength in women all over the world. Among the UN women economic empowerment panel, are Africans who have distinguished themselves personally and career wise. A lot is expected of them as they make their contributions towards empowering women on the continent:

Winnie Byanyima


Just like it says on her twitter handle, Byanyima, a Ugandan, is passionate about justice and human dignity, which makes her the perfect candidate for contributing to women’s economic empowerment, globally. She is currently the executive director at Oxfam and specialises in aeronautical engineering and diplomacy, having worked as Director of the Gender Team in the Bureau for Development Policy at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Samia Suluhu

samia suluhu

Aside from being Tanzania’s first female Vice President, Suluhu, is an authority on special issues like trade, children welfare, labour, tourism and gender development. Gender is especially distinct in this case as she has reportedly suffered discrimination while rising through the ranks in Tanzania’s corridors of power. During this year’s International Women’s Day celebration in Tanzania, Suluhu assured women that the government as well as more Tanzanians were open to becoming more accepting of gender equality.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka


Anyone familiar with the official running of the United Nations, will definitely recognize Ngcuka for her immense contributions towards the goals of United Nations (UN) Women as Executive Director. She is an important voice for the programme attempting to empower women economically around the world, particularly the African continent. She has also served her country, South Africa, in the areas of trade, technology, culture, industry, energy etc. It is no surprise that she is an advocate for human rights, equality and social justice, as she was a trained teacher before veering into politics and public service.

Amadou Mahtar Ba 


As a seasoned media mogul, Mr. Ba has major influence on what comes out of Africa in terms of information and how those outside the continent view Africans. As a panelist in establishing economic empowerment for women, Mr. Ba will be expected to paint a true picture of the continent and act as a role model for other media agencies and platforms to do the same. He is an avid supporter for women’s rights which makes for an interesting addition to the panel as he represents what this particular UN panel stands for even though he isn’t a woman.

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