For nearly 10 years, the Global First Ladies Alliance has been convening first ladies for high-level policy dialogues in the US and across Africa. This year, the group brought in voices and partners not traditionally engaged in or given access to these conversations: rising women leaders and new media platforms.
The event, The Future of Women: Leadership for a New Era, held on September 21st in New York and was co-hosted by Facebook, in partnership with MAC AIDS Fund and OkayAfrica. The event brought rising African women leaders in to share their visions for the future directly with the First Ladies. Together, First Ladies and these emerging leaders have the potential for exponential impact, reaching both policy-makers and leaders as well as youth and those shaping popular culture.
During the event, the work of rising African women leaders in the area of Tech, Social Impact and Creative Entrepreneurship were recognized with the announcement of the Global First Ladies Alliance #TheFutureOfWomen 2017 Award recipients. Throughout the day, a global audience was invited to connect to conversations via Facebook Live hosted by OkayAfrica’s Facebook page.
Global First Ladies Alliance Founder Cora Neumann said – “Since 2008, we have worked with 45 first ladies on policy and programming in their countries and worldwide. This year, given the current political climate for women around the world, we feel it is imperative to reach an even wider audience, and to find ways to spur more creative solutions for promoting women and women’s leadership. By bringing in the voices of rising women leaders, and partnering with new media platforms, we hope to uncover new solutions and reach harder-to-access groups such as youth and culture-makers. We are also excited to introduce the work of emerging leaders to African First Ladies through our new The Future of Women award.”
Commenting on the partnership, Ebele Okobi, Public Policy Director, Africa at Facebook said: “We are honored to be part of such an important and influential event. At Facebook, we are passionate about not only supporting women in their growth, but helping to change the narrative for women on the Continent. Our aim is to build, strengthen and empower a global community, and we know when women do better, economies do better.”
Nancy Mahon, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability for Estee Lauder and Global Executive Director of the M·A·C AIDS Fund – “M·A·C Cosmetics believes in supporting the fierce and the fearless, and that’s why the M·A·C AIDS Fund is proud to join forces with the Global First Ladies Alliance, Facebook, and OkayAfrica to elevate the voices of First Ladies and other women leaders who are not only critical to the HIV/AIDS response, but to all sectors of society. These women are champions and change-makers who will shape the future of Africa, and we’re honored to celebrate them, hear their perspectives, and work with them to identify solutions to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.”
Also in attendance were dignitaries including Madam Thobeka Madiba Zuma, wife of the South African President; Mrs. Jeanette Kagame, first lady of Rwanda; Mrs. Monica Geingos, first lady of Namibia; Mrs. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, First Lady of Gambia; Mrs. Maryam Mairo Tambuwal, wife of the Governor of Sokoto State; Mrs. Eunice Ortom, Wife of the Governor of Benue State amongst others.