This Is a Great time to Be a Woman Entrepreneur, Says Activist
Having spent 35 years of her career in the field of communication, publishing and digital media, Melanie Hawken decided to take a different path altogether—harnessing her communications experience to pull the audience of African women entrepreneurs. She founded a women entrepreneurs’ think-tank, ‘Lionesses of Africa’. Within a year, the organisation has managed to reach over 100,000 inspirational women entrepreneurs from across the continent. The target is to assist one million African women entrepreneurs to unlock their business potentials by 2018. During the recent Global Women’s summit in Kigali, Hawken talked to The New Times’ Athan Tashobya about her ambitions to share, inspire and connect women entrepreneurs across Africa and also weighed in on what Rwanda’s women empowerment policies mean to the continent.
What has been your definitive lesson from the just-concluded Global Women’s Summit in Kigali?
From the outset, I would have to say that my biggest personal take-out from this truly inspirational event is that Rwanda is well and truly leading the continent when it comes to supporting the growth and development of women in general, and women entrepreneurs in particular.
This is an amazing time to be a woman in Rwanda. In fact, it’s a privilege to have been in the country at this particular time as it has recently been declared the best place to be a woman in Africa by the Global Gender Gap Report.
So, the country is not only providing a great example to the rest of the continent, but, today, Rwanda ranks sixth in the world in terms of closing gender gaps, with only Scandinavian countries ranking above it. The country has shown real leadership in such areas as economic opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment and health.