First African to Head Major Women’s Organization

Women in Africa (WIA) Initiative is a network of women across Africa and globally that are dedicated to economic development and the support of women, mainly African women.

According to their website, 62 percent of economic goods are produced by women and only 8.5 percent are salaried; 27 percent of women in Africa create a business, which is the largest on a global scale. Considering make up half of the continent’s population, governments and occupations should reflect that.

WIA is determined to making success a reality for all women.

Something interesting about the organization is that it has never been headed by an African woman – until recently.

Nigerian civil rights and democracy activist Hafsat Abiola-Costello is the first appointed African to head this prominent women’s organization. She is now the Executive President of Women in Africa. Her predecessor, Aude de Thuin, previously stated that she would hand over the organization to an African woman.

“This is the stage of maturity. Since the beginning of WIA Initiative, I have always said that I would give my place to an African woman, because it is in the logic of WIA to have an African President. It is with women that Africa will develop in trust and in complementarity with men,” Thuin said.

She goes on to explain other reasons she made the decision to choose Hasfat to head the organization:

“Secondly, because of her career as an activist for human rights, civil rights and democracy, and values so close to ours made her the ideal candidate. Finally, for her analysis and her vision of the role of women in the economy. All this combined made it obvious that she is the right person at the right place.”

Hafsat’s presence is significant because it demonstrates that African women and people can be agents of their own change. They are not simply waiting for a western savior to make change for them.

As the daughter of Nigerian democracy icons, Moshood and Kudirat Abiola, Hafsat understands the price for liberty. Her parents died restoring civility to Nigeria. Now as an adult, she has made it her mission to bring about that change her parents ultimately lost their lives for.

She is currently a government official in her home Ogun State.

Hasfat describes her ambitions for the year:

“My goals for 2018 are understandably modest. It is primarily to learn. To learn how the organization currently operates, to meet our partners and listen to their vision and interests, to engage with our members across the continent and learn what they see as the biggest opportunities and the toughest challenges. In the coming year, my focus will be on building out the structure for the future and beginning to tie that structure to performance.”

Women in Africa’s main initiative is to create sustainable impacts in Africa and abroad. Their members, like Hasfat, believe that real sustainable change is directly linked to human rights and equality. If women, people who make up half of the continent, do not have parity with them then society is not equal. If women fail, so does the rest of the world.

“Women are the greatest untapped resource the continent has,” Hasfat says, “So I want to help lead the organization that is working to harness their potential. It could very well be the game-changer that unleashes the long-anticipated rise of the continent.”

The Executive president continues by detailing how their ideologies will surface into a reality.

“I’ll be focusing on ensuring that we have ambassadors in all the countries of Africa, that we have active councils in at least a third of these, and that we expand the network of partners that we engage on behalf of our members”, she said.


Featured Image via Youtube

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