BETHLEHEM NEGASH WOLDEYOHANNES (Ethiopia)
Bethlehem Negash Woldeyohannes is executive committee member of the Ethiopian Media Women Association (EMWA). EMWA strives to create gender sensitive media and to improve women’s access and participation in it. It also works to enable women to own and benefit from alternative media. For more than 10 years Bethlehem has participated in various endeavors the Association has embarked up on as a Trainer, Media Producer, Community Conversation Facilitator, Project Coordinator, Story Writer and Fundraiser, to help realize its objectives. Bethlehem has over 15 years of experience in Media, Communication, Advocacy and Public Relations fields. Raised by a single mother in extended family of dominant women, she believes she was raised as a feminist. Her exposure to various feminist readings, trainings and discourse has helped her embrace it more. Rights and issues of women and girls is now among the causes dear to her heart. She occasionally writes and shares ideas on the issue of plights of Ethiopian women on, local media platforms and social media.
BILLENE SEYOUM WOLDEYES (Ethiopia)
Billene is the author of Transformative Spaces, a book that explores the opportunities and cultural barriers to authentic female leadership in Ethiopia, which is available on Amazon.com. She is the creator and curator of Africanfeminism.com and its predecessor Ethiopianfeminist.wordpress.com. Billene has always identified as a feminist, even before she had the words to articulate the paradigm she advocated for. In her definition, feminism is a school of thought which acknowledges that a system driven by antiquated cultural norms has been of great disservice to women and girls, the world over, and that this system needs an overhaul to bring into balance the perspectives, needs, choices, abilities, voices and contributions of both men and women without preference, repression and domination of one over the other. Feminism is also a way of life for her in which she uses it as a lens to understand the effects on and differences of systems, processes, and institutions between women/girls and men/boys. While she writes on many topics, she is particularly interested in women’s leadership, masculinities and peace and security. Billene also blogs on women’s leadership at www.awib.org.et.
BOCHRA LAGHSSAIS (Morocco)
Bochra Laghssais is a Gender Studies and Literature student at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, Morocco. She is part of the White House Initiative Let Girls Learn where she met the First Lady Michelle Obama, the source of her inspiration, hope, and power. She works with Project Soar Morocco, a U.S. based non-profit that empowers underserved Moroccan adolescent girls through art, sports, and health education programs. She is the author of Beyond These Walls- Gender and Patriarchy within the Moroccan Family. You can contact her at Bochra.Laghssais@gmail.com
GODIVA AKULLO (Uganda)
Godiva Akullo is a feminist lawyer and activist with a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Makerere University, a Masters in Law from Harvard Law School and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre. She is a lecturer on law and a legal consultant. Her feminist ideals are infused in the thoughts that she shares on social media about the position of womyn in society, politics/ democracy and other social issues. She is also quite invested in finding the perfect meme for every emotion she has.
You can find Godiva on twitter: @amgodiva
NYAGUTHII KIOI (Kenya)
Nyaguthii is a 22-year old student from Kenya pursuing a Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Nairobi. She is also a young mother to a gorgeous little boy and an activist for young mothers as well as victims and survivors of Gender Based Violence. She is the founder of an initiative called Nilibeba Foundation which is a platform for young mothers to give each other support. She is a Vunja Kimya Ambassador meaning that she represents a campaign called Vunja Kimya which is all about breaking the silence on matters of Gender Based Violence, especially in the University level as well as being a peer mentor. She has great dreams and ambitions and hopes to make her mark in the world and leave it a better place and to raise a boy she’ll be proud of. She is a feminist and does not hesitate to speak out against oppression and misogyny.
More of her writing can be found at www.misskioi.wordpress.com.
ROSEBELL KAGUMIRE (Uganda)
Rosebell is a writer, digital communication strategist, public speaker and award-winning blogger. Her experience spans journalism, new media, rights in crisis, migration, women’s rights, peace and security issues- mostly in Africa. In the past she has worked with various Ugandan media and as stringer for various international media outlets. She was recently a Social Media Manager for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The World Economic Forum also recognized her among Young Global Leaders under 40 for 2013. She blogs at Rosebell’s Blog which won the Waxal – Blogging Africa Awards, the first African journalist blogging awards hosted by Panos Institute of West Africa in 2009.
TRICIA TWASIIMA (Uganda)
Tricia is a 23 year old unapologetic radical feminist from Uganda with a penchant for high heels and a closeted love of hip-hop music. She is a lawyer, writer, ardent reader and a lover of life. She hopes to use her writing as an expression of anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observes throughout her life especially against black womyn. She has big dreams and is actively interested in leaving this world a much better place than she found it. Some of her other interests include snap-chatting, wine-drinking, calling out misogyny and occasional daydreaming. She can also be described as a blend between Olivia Pope, Meredith Grey and Mary-Jane.
You can find Tricia on twitter: @triciatwasiima
SEWIT HAILESELLASIE (Ethiopia)
When I told a man whose opinions I value immensely that I was pregnant for the second time, he was infuriated with me. He asked me “Is all you want to do have babies for the rest of your life? Work on your personal development”. I was angry. I was angry not just because this man insulted the choices I have made in my life, he insulted my intelligence. I have never considered having babies as the end of the line for me. It is another avenue full of opportunities to learn, to love and to grow. I know what he meant when he asked me if all I want to do is have babies. I am more than my biological role of making babies. I fully agree with him on that. What I completely disagree with is him putting me in just that box. Simply, he was limiting my potential to be. Is an intelligent, educated and feminist woman not supposed to have a loving marriage and children? Who told him I have to be one or the other? My strength is that I get to choose. I can choose to balance a career and family. I can choose to be single and career minded. I can choose to be a stay at home mom. I can CHOOSE and I have gladly chosen. It does not have to be an either or situation, not if you do not want it to be so. I do not want it to be, therefore I will make it so. I have to ability to choose. To me, Feminism is all about securing that right to choose, no matter who you are. Who I am may be hard to put in just one box. I am a Feminist, a wife and mother and an ambitious professional. I am constantly evolving and I love it.