In an effort to transform the narrative and negative perceptions of African women and children, Graça Machel, the former first lady of two African nations, recently established a first of its kind Pan African Women in Media Network (WIMN).
Graça Machel is one of the world’s leading advocates for women, children, and communities affected by conflict and injustice. Born in a rural part of Portuguese East Africa, she attended university in Lisbon before returning home to be a freedom fighter and schoolteacher.
After the declaration of Mozambique’s independence, Machel became the country’s first Education Minister. In the years following her government ministry, Machel produced a ground-breaking UNICEF report on the impact of armed conflict on children that changed the way the United Nations and member states respond in conflict zones.
Since then, she has worked tirelessly in support of global health, child welfare, and women’s rights and empowerment.
Recognising the crucial role that media plays in shaping societal attitudes, the Graça Machel Trust has announced that they have established a Pan African network of women journalists to place Africa’s women and children at the centre of transformation within the media landscape.
The WIMN will drive coordinated messaging and build awareness on issues related to health, education, and women’s economic empowerment that impact women and children.
“The Graça Machel Trust’s women’s rights program is based on our aim to multiply the faces and amplify the voices of women, especially in areas where they are underrepresented,” said Machel, who is also the founder of the Foundation for Community Development in Mozambique.
“Through our women’s networks in agribusiness, finance and ‘Women Creating Wealth,’ we foster links and build a critical mass of highly-qualified and active women across sectors and professions who can work collectively to influence, shape and drive the socio-economic policies to ensure that they achieve economic prosperity and social change.”
In order to build a strong movement for the economic advancement of women, the Trust will strengthen and raise the profile – and influence – of business associations at national, sub-regional and pan-African levels.
Currently the Trust works with networks of businesswomen in nine countries. We play a crucial role in providing capacity-building and ensuring that there is information flow and opportunities for sharing and learning between the various country networks.