Jazz Women in Africa


1 Day | 3 Events | 20+ Countries | 30+ Artists

On the occasion of International Jazz Day, UNESCO is pleased to collaborate with Brahim El Mazned of ANYA Music (Morocco) to celebrate jazz women.

On this 10th anniversary of IJD, UNESCO Division for Gender Equality is featuring a series of performances and debates with women artists, journalists and music producers from across the African continent.

IJD brings together countries and communities worldwide every 30 April to celebrate the international art form of jazz, highlighting its important role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination and promoting human dignity. Yet, with women leading only 30% of the top 50 jazz albums in 2019 and representing only 7.6% of Grammy nominees since 2013, women artists are still struggling to make their voices heard. Issues of artistic freedom, equal pay or access to professional markets are enduring. This event will raise the visibility of women musicians from Africa, shed light on their situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and kick off a reflection on the status and future of women artists in Africa.

Having Gender Equality and Africa as global priorities, UNESCO is committed to ensuring that African women fully enjoy their rights to access, participate in and contribute to cultural life, free of any bias. Panellists will be discussing solutions to improve the situation and advancement of women artists, by addressing the following questions:

  • What is the status of women in Jazz and African improvised music today?
  • What structural reasons underlie women’s low representation and specific challenges?
  • What solutions to implement real change?
  • What is the future of African women jazz artists?


Women, Jazz, Africa

Message from Audrey Azoulay, 

UNESCO Director-General

Video Message

Time: 30 April 2021, at 7pm (Paris Time)| All artists | Replay

Round Table I - Jazz Women in Francophone Africa (in French)

Josiane Maténé, organizer Samba professionnels (Gabon) - Moderator

  • Claire Diboa, artist manager (Cameroon)
  • Manou Gallo, artist (Côte d'Ivoire)
  • Nathalie Mefe, co-Founder, Escale Bantoo, Scène d'ébéne (Cameroon)
  • Binetou Sylla, producer (Senegal)

Time: 30 April 2021, 1pm-2.30pm (Paris Time) | All bios | Replay

Round Table II - Jazz Women in Anglophone Africa (in English)

Lucy Ilado, journalist Music in Africa (Kenya) - Moderator

  • Lindsey Abudei, artist (Nigeria)
  • Sonia Aimy, artist, militant and actress (Nigeria)
  • Christine Kamau, trumpeter (Kenya)
  • Priscilla Mhango, artist (Malawi)
  • Melody Zambuko, country director, Crossroads Music (Zimbabwe)

Time: 30 April 2021, 3.30pm-5pm (Paris Time) | All bios | Replay