Feminist & Football Fanatic Becomes Senegal’s New Prime Minister

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When you read about world news these days it is often dominated with ugly politics, threats of war, depressing statistics and more. Amongst all of this, there are beacons of hope and stories that allow us to realize the good in the world, and for us women, to celebrate the victories for our gender.

On September 1st, 2013, Animata Toure was appointed as the new Prime Minister for Senegal, after her predecessor was sacked, and she becomes only the second female PM in the country’s history (Mame Madior Boye served between 2001 and 2002).

This is a significant and important appointment for the country as Tour is well known for her activism work, particularly in the areas of Women’s reproductive rights, anti-corruption campaigns and human rights.

She was the person responsible for putting certain members of the previous government’s cabinet in prison for corruption. And this is in a country and continent where women’s rights, let alone women in power are few and far between.

Toure has fought for her government to include health reforms which would include rights for women and reproduction. She has been very successful in getting people to see how Senegal’s government can improve upon the health of women in general by including reproductive bills into their budgets.

So far she has appointed 4 other women as part of her cabinet, vs the 28 men, which she is garnering a lot of criticism for so far. It’s always the norm to pick apart what a politician isn’t yet doing, but we choose to focus on the positives as we know it is a step by step process. If she can pave the way for more and more women to be empowered and use their voices to make a difference in their community and get involved in politics, then she has our vote!

Fun fact about the woman nicknamed ‘The Iron Lady” (for her tough stance on corruption), she is a huge football fan.

Aside from being a respected name in politics and activism in Senegal, Ms. Toure is passionate about her country and hopes her appointment will work toward good, rather than repression.

“We will speed up the pace of our public development programs and reforms to enable every person in Senegal to feel the change in their daily livelihood.” she told reporters after the public announcement of her appointment.

Watch this world-changer (Obama-take note!) speak about why her previous role as the Chief of Gender and Human Rights at the United Nations was a vehicle to share why these issues are important and that every person should have certain unalienable rights in life.

 

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