Power Players:
African Women Working to End Gender Inequality

Coralie Saint-Louis
Sep 8, 2015 · 4 min read

This summer’s #AfricaPowerPlayers,Women’s Transformational Leadership in a Fast Changing World,” panel focused on the importance of investing in African women by providing them equal opportunities.
In two separate panels, female entrepreneurs from the diaspora talked about empowering women financially to help fight gender inequality.
They offered success tips and shared with the audience just some of the the daily micro-aggressions and discrimination they face and the difficult choices they made in their personal lives to be successful.

“As a woman, you were supposed to be seen not heard”
— Lepang Ferguson

In many countries in Africa, women struggle against cultural barriers that prevent them from accessing the same opportunities as men. These barriers can make it difficult for young women to get an education, join the professional workforce or start their own businesses.

Image for post
Image for post
Lepang Ferguson answers questions from the audience

Entrepreneur and 2015 Mandela Fellow Lepang Ferguson (@LepangFerguson), talked about some of the struggles she faced growing up in Zimbabwe and how the fight for gender equality starts in the home.

She said, “as a woman, you were supposed to be seen, not heard” but with the help of a supportive father, she said she was able to overcome many of the difficulties faced by women in her country.

The founder and CEO of Shea Yeleen, Rahama Wright (@rahamatuwright), said she thinks the first step to empowering women is to redefine the way societies see women. She recounted some of her experiences as a business owner and how others saw her as less of a woman for being as she said, “very business like, not very emotional, and aggressive.

Because of these encounters, Wright said she decided there is a need for a change to the way society defines gender roles in the business world. She said she began developing her ‘5 Steps to Success’ as a way to empower other women with what she learned from her experiences.

Christine St Vil (@momsncharge) is the founder and CEO of Moms ‘N Charge, a company helping women manage their business and family life. The mother of three said she wanted to show women they could be entrepreneurs while also being mothers. The Moms ‘N Charge website offers tips and tools to help women pursue their business dreams while still having a primary role in the lives of their children.

Image for post
Image for post
Moms ‘N Charge website http://momsncharge.com/

All the women on the panel who said they had to overcome many challenges to achieve their goals all said they agreed on one thing, when pursuing your dreams, it’s only by being persistent and not giving up in the face of adversity that you will achieve success.


The ‘POWER PLAYER: “WOMEN’S TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN A FAST-CHANGING CONTINENT” forum is a component of “Celebrate Africa 3.0”, the women’s leadership forum. It’s stated goals are to:

(1) Bring together decisions makers, entrepreneurs, development experts, foreign policy wonks, academics, community activists, artists, from Africa and the United States, to reflect on the roles women play in Africa and how their dreams, passions, energies and leadership skills should be best harnessed to power Africa into a brighter, more prosperous, peaceful future in a more decisive manner, beneficial for all and inclusive of all — the women, the youth, the men, and the institutions.

(2) Create an environment that will foster an exchange of ideas and strategies to enhance women’s involvement in ongoing changes at each level of society.

(3) Provide a space for attendees to network with each other both socially and professionally and develop opportunities for mutual support and collaboration.

(4) Showcase the power of the African women and how it can be of benefit on the African continent and in the Diaspora.

You can learn more at, http://sautizuri.com/power-players

Africa Rizing

a new media startup from the BBG and US International Media…

Coralie Saint-Louis

Written by

An eager soul navigating through life, exploring unfamiliar places and open to new adventures.

Africa Rizing

a new media startup from the BBG and US International Media connecting the next generation of global influencers from across the African continent and around the world to engage in, ‘a smarter conversation’.

Coralie Saint-Louis

Written by

An eager soul navigating through life, exploring unfamiliar places and open to new adventures.

Africa Rizing

a new media startup from the BBG and US International Media connecting the next generation of global influencers from across the African continent and around the world to engage in, ‘a smarter conversation’.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store