By Sariane Leigh | September 2009
“We need to get back to the old time mobilization of our grandmothers”, said Regina Amadi, Regional Director for Africa, of the International Labor Organization (ILO), May 8 at the 2009 African Women Changing the Global Outlook Empowerment Conference in Washington D.C. As she spoke before Somali intellectuals, Ugandan business women, Nigerian journalists, and Tanzanian political leaders, she and other global leaders shared their concerns about Africa’s political, economic and environmental and health condition. The British Embassy and National Geographic sponsored the conference by bringing together noted international panelists to respond to audience questions. While the usual suspects brought up age old hot topics such as good governance, the role of Ngo’s, and male political power structures, participants challenged female panel members on what they are doing to empower those who do not have the privilege to attend the conference. American Journalist, Makeda Crane asked, “What are we doing NOW to help the women in the Congo?” Makeda’s overarching question brought to light the complicated tier of injustices that make women’s goal to “help” and “improve” Africa a task bound by time, space, and resources.
Keywords: Sierra Leone