The main roles of African women, until recently, had been limited to housekeeping: providing food, water and emotional support to the family whenever the men went out in search of food and income. The old adage of women being hewers of wood and drawers of water has relegated the power and capacity of the African woman to the duties of motherhood from time immemorial.
However, all such restrictions changed in the colonial and post-colonial era of the 1960s, when the call for women in development was highly advocated. The current Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, summarized the modern contributions of the African woman during the 2015 women-20 group at the G20 summit, when she stated that should women be given the same access to farming resources as men, the agricultural output in developing countries would increase by up to 4% – a development which would lift over 100 million people out of hunger in Africa!
Of course, agriculture is just one of numerous areas in which Africa continues to churn out some of the world’s most influential women. Read ahead to learn about five African women who are exerting power and influence in the world’s political and economic systems.