The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has released its annual list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for the year 2020 which features two Nigerians alongside a bevy of other Africans.
The list, however, includes Nigeria’s Aisha Yesufu and Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim, among other leaders, trailblazers and everyday heroes from over 60 countries.
According to BBC, Aisha is an activist who is actively demanding good governance and accountability in her country. A co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign and a prominent participant in the #EndSars protests. While, Uyaiedu is a feminist film-maker, director and LGBTQ+ activist, who has committed herself to creating stories about marginalised groups in Nigeria. Her film “Ifẹ́” highlights the harsh, homophobic realities in Nigeria.
Speaking on how it chose individuals that made this year’s list, The BBC’s 100 Women team said that they “drew up a shortlist based on names gathered by them and suggested by the BBC’s network of World Service languages teams.”
They continued, “We were looking for candidates who had made the headlines or influenced important stories over the past 12 months, as well as those who have inspiring stories to tell, achieved something significant or influenced their societies in ways that wouldn’t necessarily make the news. The pool of names was then assessed against this year’s theme – women who led change – and measured for regional representation and due impartiality, before the final names were chosen.”
Other Africans on the list include:
Angelique Kidjo – Musician, Benin.
Angelique is a four-time Grammy award winner who advocates on behalf of children as a Unicef ambassador, and through her own charitable foundation, Batonga, which supports the education of young girls in Africa.
Jemimah Kariuki – Doctor, Kenya.
Jemimah is passionate about preventive medicine, especially in maternal and child health. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, she provided a solution to the delay of access to health care due to limited transport options – licensed vehicles, taking women from their homes to the hospital. This led to Wheels for Life – a free ambulance service.
Vanessa Nakate – Climate activist, Uganda.
Vanessa is the founder of the Africa-based Rise Up Movement where she campaigns internationally to highlight the effects of climate change in Africa.
Ethel Nakimuli-Mpungu – A psychiatrist and senior lecturer at Makerere University, Uganda.
Ethel works towards making therapy more culturally appropriate, particularly for people living with HIV and depression.
Douce Namwezi N’Ibamba – Journalist, DR Congo.
Douce is the founder of Uwezo Afrika Initiative, a non-profit venture promoting women’s empowerment through journalism, job training and social entrepreneurship.
Bulelwa Mkutukana – Singer/songwriter, South Africa.
Bulelwa has been showered with awards and is enjoying a successful career in the music industry – but she has also used her platform to speak out about violence against women in South Africa, something she revealed has happened to her.
Josina Machel – Social-justice activist, Mozambique.
Josina is a long-standing defender of human rights, born into a legacy of activism. She is fiercely passionate in her life’s calling to advance women’s rights.
Ishtar Lakhani – Activist, South Africa.
Ishtar is a feminist, activist and self-proclaimed “troublemaker”. who collaborates with social-justice organisations, movements and networks around the world, providing the support needed to strengthen their approaches to human rights-advocacy.
Ishtar also played a major role in the Free the Vaccine campaign, engineered by the Center for Artistic Activism and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) this year.
Mulenga Kapwepwe – Artist and curator, Zambia.
Mulenga co-founded the Zambian Women’s History Museum, lauded in 2020 for marking Zambian women’s contribution to their nation.
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