Spotlight on Women

Gender equality is one of the global priorities of UNESCO.

The Organisation strives to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment by integrating these principles in all its programmes.

Education makes it possible to transmit the essential value of gender equality: it provides leverage to reinforce the fundamental human rights of women and highlights their central role in all societies.

As such, the teaching of history has a crucial role to play since it enables the understanding of cultural dimensions, and highlights the social, political, and economic conditions in the lives of women in past societies.

The “Women in African History” project pursues this precise objective.

Through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the project showcases African women or women of African descent. It demonstrates that historically, women have distinguished themselves in the history of the continent in areas as diverse as politics (Gisele Rabesahala), diplomacy and resistance against colonization (Njinga Mbandi), defence of women’s rights (Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti), and environmental protection (Wangari Maathai).

Through this project, and by emphasizing the education, academic careers and main achievements of these exceptional women, UNESCO seeks to highlight their legacy and calls for continued research on the role of women in African history.

This list of women is not exhaustive and represents only a small part of the contribution of African women, known and unknown, to the history of their countries, Africa and all mankind.