DAKAR, April 13 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Celebrating
successful African women in fields ranging from politics and
business to agriculture and the arts could inspire girls across
the continent to strive towards closing the gender gap, winners
of the New African Woman Awards said on Thursday.
Twelve women from Mali, Morocco and Zimbabwe among other
countries, were honoured at the ceremony hosted by the New
African Woman (NAW) magazine late on Wednesday in the Senegalese
The Woman of the Year Award went to Fatoumata Tambajang,
Gambia's new vice president and the architect of an opposition
coalition that helped President Adama Barrow defeat longtime
ruler Yahya Jammeh in the December presidential election.
"This important platform brings together inspirational women
to find solutions to gender equality issues that hinder Africa's
development," said Leila Ben Hassen, general manager at IC
Publications, which publishes the pan-African NAW magazine.
"Although we are still a long way from closing the gender
gap globally, Africa is making some gradual progress," she told
the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the second
edition of the awards.
The awards were followed by panel discussions on subjects
including female leadership in politics and business, supporting
women in science and technology and investing in women's health.
Several panellists said that women across Africa face many
obstacles to achieving their full potential, ranging from access
to capital, a lack of training, and widespread discrimination.
Winner of the health, science and innovation award, Helena
Ndume, a Namibian ophthalmologist who has performed
sight-restoring surgeries upon tens of thousands of people for
free, said she hoped to inspire young girls to follow her lead.
"It is so humbling to be here among amazing African women
from so many different fields," she said. "I hope our successes
will encourage many girls and young women to aspire to work in
vital sectors like science, health, engineering and technology."
(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please
credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of
Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights,
trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience.