About AWLS

The African Women’s Leadership Symposium is a regional platform that brings together women of power and influence occupying various decision-making positions. Women in leadership from all sectors of society, at varying levels, be it political, corporate, development, arts, sciences and beyond will converge to deliberate on how to best actualise transformative leadership in their respective contexts and for the greater benefit of the continent.
The Symposium, a first of its kind, will give opportunity to women leaders to deliberate how to leverage their leadership, power, influence and access for the development and progress of the African continent in general and the advancement of women and girls’ rights in particular. It will be a vibrant space for animated interactions and discussions on factors that support and those that hinder women’s access to power, influence and resources in society. It will also be an opportunity to reflect on how to best collaborate inter-sectorally so as to further the agenda of women and girls rights in Africa.It is expected that some of the outcomes of this meeting will be to get expressed commitment from participants to adopt Supporter Journeys with deliberate actions, initiatives, projects, approaches, strategies that create space for women and advance women’s rights. It will also launch The One Million Women initiative which will be an inter-sectoral collaboration by women leaders targeted at championing an initiative that touches at least 1 million women in Africa in the year 2016/17.

Connect With Us!


Winnie Byanyima

Executive Director of Oxfam International


Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi

Special Envoy on Gender and Vice President, African Development Bank


Amb. Amina Mohamed

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya


African Women Moving Mountains

African Women have defied rhetoric and achieved that which was deemed impossible. As the footprints to their successes continue to be documented, the impact is undeniable. Some of these women will be speaking at the symposium.

Women Initiative



Overall moderator/ MC for the day – Dr. Awino Oketch,

Visiting Senior Research Fellow, African Leadership Centre, Kings College London


Overall moderator/ MC for the day – Dr. Awino Oketch,

Visiting Senior Research Fellow, African Leadership Centre, Kings College London

09:00AM - 10:00AM

Opening Ceremony

Welcome remarks and keynote address by co-convener, Ambassador Dr. Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya. Bisi’s Presentation: “Linking our many transformative journeys: The Voices, Spaces and Power of African Women”
10:30am - 12:00pm

Plenary panel 1: Self reflection, Learning and Committing on a journey

The main objective of this session is to offer space for self reflection. This session will explore various principles, values and processes that highlight how to be self critical as a leader while at the same time creating room for growth. It will look at personal stories, explore the ...
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Plenary panel 2: Women, Peace and security

Objective: This session explores the question of how transformative leadership for women’s rights can transform peace and security in the continent. It explores various aspects of peace and security and locates women in the existing and more intractable wars in the continent, examines how conflicts have changed and emerging ...
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Break out session 1: New threats on security in Africa

This session explores the role of transformative leadership for women’s rights in addressing new threats in security. In recent years we have seen a rise in threats in security which, include States and non-state actors in a war of competing world views. Some of the arguments used as a ...
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Break out session 2: New wars, Old wars: Ongoing conflicts in Africa

This session will delve deeper into matters of armed conflict and militarism in Africa. From South Sudan to Burundi, DRC to Central Africa Republic, to political revolutions in Egypt and Libya that have turned violent. This session focuses on militarisation, violent conflict, civil wars, military rule and how they ...
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Break out session 3: Patriarchy and Violence

The last few decades have seen progress in addressing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Africa leading to major Campaigns and organised actions calling for an end to violence against women. There has also been an increased focus on the need for funding to ensure strengthening of systems to ...
5:00pm - 6:00pm

Wall of Commitments

Supporter Journeys and guidance on Commitments from the conference In the spirit of self reflection, learning and committing to a journey, the supporter journeys are intended to encourage the participating women leaders to commit to support specific issues affecting women and girls in different sectors. These will be specific ...
09:30am - 11:00am

Plenary Panel 1: New Issues, New Formations – Young Women’s Leadership

Young women in Africa play a critical role in various sectors. In women’s rights organizations and other social movements, they continue to be vital to the sustainability of women’s rights organizing and have also been at the forefront in the creative industry, political leadership, media and engagements using digital ...
11:30am - 1:00pm

Break out session 1: Intergenerational Learning – an exploration of models and approaches that work

Objective: This plenary session will bring together women leaders from different sectors, different generations and different centres of influence as part of laying the groundwork for discussions on the power of multigenerational organising and/ or creating spaces that support and open more doors for other women especially young women. ...
11:30am - 1:00pm

Break out 2: Digital revolution – using social media to influence and brand ourselves

Objective: This will be a practical capacity building session on effective use of social media facilitated by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). Communication and information technology are key social drivers in the continent. Whether looking at them from a social justice, movement building and advocacy for human rights, ...
2:30pm - 4:00pm

Women and the Economy

Objective: This session will frame broad discussions on women and the economy paying attention to the role of African women in various sectors such as trade, agriculture, export sector, care economy, work and wages. It is intended to take cognizance of the contribution of women to the economy while ...
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Round table 1: Formal sector and care services

This session will focus on the broad issue of women at work with a focus on the role of domestic workers and their support to women involved in the formal sector. Domestic workers comprise a significant part of the workforce in the informal sector in Africa and globally. They ...
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Round table 2: Women@Work – Strategies for Advancing women leadership – a case study from the horticultural sector

Objective: This will be a panel discussion on women and leadership based on experience of the horticultural sector of Eastern Africa, but will have a broad perspective to addressing challenges and grasping opportunities for women in leadership in a general sense. The discussion will highlight structural and social challenges ...
5:30pm - 6:30pm

Closing plenary & adoption of commitments:

Inspired by her personal story, this session will have a powerful closing that locates our self reflections throughout the Symposium to the personal commitments emerging from the Symposium. Closing speech by Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Kenya

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Our Partners

We are grateful for your generous financial contributions.

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Austrian Development Agency
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