Are there no powerful women in Africa?
Forbes has just released “Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful Women”, and only two women from Africa were listed.
The two women from Africa named on the list occupied the 93 and 98 positions.
Some critics have asserted that Forbes only adds the Africans to the list to create balance as there are not many African women commanding world attention today. Others argue that the list reflects bias and that there are over a dozen African women who should make the list year in and year out.
The 2019 list which accommodated two Africans is an improvement, considering that the 2017 and 2018 listings had only one African each.
In 2017, the only African listed as Africa’s richest woman and daughter of former Angolan president Isabel dos Santos.
In 2016, Africa had three slots namely; former Liberia president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former Mauritius president, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and Nigeria’s business mogul, Folorunsho Alakija.
The two African women mentioned are high ranked political and diplomacy figures. They are; Ethiopian president Sahle-Work Zewde, who was the only African in the 2018 list, and the Deputy United Nations Secretary-General Amina Mohammed of Nigeria.
President Sahle-Work Zewde occupied the 93rd position, while the Deputy United Nations Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, who is from Nigeria, occupied the 98th position.
Again critics have argued that Deputy United Nations Secretary-General Amina Mohammed should have a higher ranking than the 98th position.
“In 2019, women around the globe took action, claiming leadership positions in government, business, philanthropy and media. These trailblazers are not to be messed with,” Forbes wrote about this year’s candidates.
What Forbes wrote about Sahle-Work Zewde
In October 2018, Sahle-Work Zewde became Ethiopia’s first woman president and the only serving female head of state in Africa.
A seasoned diplomat and veteran of the United Nations, Zewde was appointed with a unanimous vote by parliament.
In her first address to parliament, Zewde promised to be a voice for women and stressed the importance of unity.
The appointment joins a series of unprecedented shifts as part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reforms focused on easing government control.
Traditionally a ceremonial role, Zewde’s appointment is a tremendously symbolic move for the conservative country, opening the door for gender parity.
What Forbes wrote about Amina Mohammed
Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
She was previously a special adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and was instrumental in setting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
British-Nigerian by birth, Mohammed served as Nigeria’s environmental minister in 2016, guiding the country’s efforts on fighting climate change.
She worked in three successive administrations in Nigeria, coordinating programs worth $1 billion annually for development goal-related interventions.
Top 10 and other notable candidates
1 – Angela Merkel
2 – Christine Lagarde
3 – Nancy Pelosi
4 – Ursula von der Leyen
5 – Mary Barra
6 – Melinda Gates
7 – Abigail Johnson
8 – Ana Patricia Botin
9 – Ginni Rometty
10 – Marillyn Hewson
Oprah Winfrey was listed on number 20.
Queen Elizabeth dropped to 40.
Ivanka Trump held position 42.
Rihanna and Beyonce were listed on 61 and 66, respectively.
Serena Williams got position 81, and young Climate Change advocate got position 100.
What are your thoughts?
Header Image Credit: UNCTAD Online