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6 Impactful African Women to Celebrate During Women’s Month

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


“Future generations will judge us not by what we say, but what we do. The future belongs to us, because we have taken charge of it. We have the commitment, we have the resourcefulness, and we have the strength of our people to share the dream across Africa…”

Sirfleaf became the President of Liberia in 2006, making her the first elected female head of state in Africa’s history. She was re-elected in 2011, the same year she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her role in fighting for women’s rights and building peace through her country and continent.

Despite criticism on her presidential term, Ellen will remain a source of inspiration for breaking the glass ceiling and proving that women can achieve great success in a patriarchal power system.

Lupita Nyong’o


“The game of chess is a metaphor for life… it teaches you strategy and it teaches you the value of knowing where you are, where you want to get to and what obstacles are in the way that you need to navigate in order to get there.”

Lupita Nyong’o is an international filmmaker and actress known for her Academy Award-winning role as Patsey in ’12 Years a Slave’ and as Nakia in ‘Black Panther.’ In 2014, she was named the most beautiful woman by People. Nyong’o has also written a children’s book about colourism and self-love named Sulwe (2019), which became a number one New York Times Best-Seller.

Lupita has won over 60 national and international actress awards and continues to use her talent to inspire people everywhere and remind them that their dreams are valid.

Danai Gurira


“Survival isn’t lying down and saying, oh, poor me. It’s finding ways to live and keep your light shining in the midst of the darkest circumstances.”

Danai is a Zimbabwean-American actress and playwright. She’s starred in TV series The Walking Dead and movies Black Panther and the Avengers series. Her play, Eclipsed, became the first play with an all-black and female creative cast and team to premiere on Broadway. She’s currently a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador.

Gurira refers to herself as a ‘Zimerican’ and is proud of her culture, her upbringing and continues to create work for other African women to shine in.

Mona Eltahawy


“I believe it’s the writer’s job to tell society what it pretends it doesn’t know.”

Eltahawy is a freelance Egyptian-American journalist, and social commentator based in New York City. She has written essays and op-eds for publications worldwide on Egypt and the Islamic world, including women’s issues and Muslim political and social affairs. Her 2015 book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution tried to break through the wall of silence that surrounds the sexual violence women in the region deal with on a daily basis. Last year, she launched the #MosqueMeToo social media campaign to ensure that the Middle East and North Africa is not spared from the benefits of the #MeToo movement.

Mona has faced backlash and even physical bodily harm yet she continues to positively promote feminism and speaks out on behalf of women’s rights in the Arab world. She won’t rest till equality is not just feasible but achieved and that drive is something everyone can learn from.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

Adichie is a Nigerian novelist and short story writer whose works range from novels to short stories to nonfiction. She has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (2007) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2008). She has penned many international best-selling books from Half Of A Yellow Sun to Americanah. She was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2015 for her contribution to Beyoncé’s fifth solo album because an excerpt of her TEDx talk speech, We Should All Be Feminists (2014)’ was featured in “Flawless”

Chimamanda continues to use her writing and platform to speak and comment on inequality, racism and other societal issues. She reminds us that it’s not about the intended audience alone, if we speak our truth, the right people will listen and be inspired to act.

Warsan Shire


“Don’t assume, ask. Be kind. Tell the truth. Don’t say anything you can’t stand behind fully. Have integrity. Tell people how you feel.”

Shire is a British writer, poet, editor and teacher who was awarded the inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize in 2013. In October 2013, Shire was selected from a shortlist of six as the first Young Poet Laureate for London. In June 2018 Shire was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in its “40 Under 40” initiative. Her words were recited numerous times throughout Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade.

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