50 Fun Facts about the African continent
March 27, 2024
50 African men who have shaped the world
March 29, 2024

50 fun facts about African women

Without a doubt, African women have played and continue to play crucial roles in their communities and beyond, making significant contributions across various fields and keeping Africa at the forefront of the global map.

Here are 50 fun facts that highlight the diversity, strength, and achievements of African women:

  1. Trailblazing Leaders: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became Africa’s first elected female president, leading Liberia from 2006 to 2018.
  2. Nobel Peace Laureates: Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Wangari Maathai of Kenya are among African women who have won the Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions to peace and environmental conservation, respectively.
  3. Ancient Queens: Africa has a long history of powerful queens, such as Queen Nefertiti of Egypt and Queen Makeda of Sheba (modern-day Ethiopia/Yemen).
  4. Sporting Excellence: Ethiopian long-distance runner Tirunesh Dibaba has won three Olympic gold medals and is known as the “Baby Faced Destroyer.”
  5. Space Explorers: In 2022, Egyptian computer scientist Sarah Sabry became the first Egyptian woman to fly to space.
  6. Cultural Ambassadors: Grammy Award-winning singer Angelique Kidjo from Benin has used her music to promote African culture globally.
  7. Revolutionary Writers: Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is celebrated for her novels and essays on feminism and race.
  8. Tech Innovators: Juliana Rotich, a Kenyan tech entrepreneur, co-founded Ushahidi, a global nonprofit tech company.
  9. Historic Rulers: The ancient Candaces of Meroë were powerful queen regents of the Kingdom of Kush, now Sudan.
  10. Economic Leaders: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria became the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organization in 2021.
  11. Medical Pioneers: Dr. Jane Cooke Wright, an African-American cancer researcher, made significant contributions to chemotherapy research.
  12. Activism and Advocacy: South African Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela-Mandela was a major anti-apartheid activist and politician.
  13. Fashion Icons: Iman, a Somali-American model, has been a pioneering figure in the fashion industry since the late 1970s.
  14. Literary Geniuses: Egyptian novelist Nawal El Saadawi was renowned for her feminist works and activism.
  15. Philanthropic Efforts: Mo Abudu is a Nigerian media mogul and philanthropist, empowering African women in the media industry.
  16. Cinema Stars: Lupita Nyong’o, who is Kenyan-Mexican, won an Oscar for her role in “12 Years a Slave.”
  17. Entrepreneurial Spirits: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, from Ethiopia, founded soleRebels, a successful eco-friendly footwear brand.
  18. Environmental Warriors: The Green Belt Movement, founded by Wangari Maathai, has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya.
  19. Historic Athletes: Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia was the first African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in 1992.
  20. Cultural Preservationists: Senegalese fashion designer Oumou Sy has worked to preserve African textile traditions.
  21. Mathematical Minds: Nigerian mathematician Chika Ofili discovered a new method to test divisibility by 7, making headlines when he was just 12 years old.
  22. Influential Voices: South African singer Miriam Makeba was a prominent anti-apartheid and civil rights activist.
  23. Royal Advocates: Princess Elizabeth of Toro, Uganda, has been a lawyer, diplomat, and model, advocating for women’s rights and cultural preservation.
  24. Media Moguls: Folorunso Alakija from Nigeria is one of the richest African women, with interests in fashion, oil, and printing industries.
  25. Historical Warriors: The Dahomey Amazons were a regiment of all-female warriors in the Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin) in the 19th century.
  1. Human Rights Champions: Hafsat Abiola, a Nigerian human rights, civil rights, and democracy activist, has worked tirelessly for the rights of women and democracy in Nigeria.
  2. Artistic Innovators: Nigerian visual artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby has received international acclaim for her complex works that explore the cross-cultural experience.
  3. Educational Reformers: Kakenya Ntaiya, a Kenyan educator, founded a school for girls in rural Kenya, advocating for girls’ education and against harmful practices like child marriage and FGM.
  4. Scientific Breakthroughs: The South African HIV researcher, Salim Abdool Karim, and his wife, Quarraisha Abdool Karim, have made significant strides in HIV prevention, particularly among women.
  5. Champions of Literature: Tsitsi Dangarembga from Zimbabwe is an award-winning author known for her novels and films highlighting the struggles of African women.
  6. Global Influencers: Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, “We Should All Be Feminists,” has sparked global conversations on feminism and gender equality.
  7. Olympic Groundbreakers: Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry is one of the most decorated Olympic swimmers from Africa, holding seven medals.
  8. Anti-Colonial Leaders: Mbuya Nehanda, a spiritual leader in Zimbabwe, became a symbol of resistance against colonialism in the 19th century.
  9. Political Pioneers: Ruth Mompati was one of the first women to join the African National Congress’s armed wing in its fight against apartheid in South Africa.
  10. Iconic Musicians: Nigerian musician Fela Kuti’s mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, was a notable activist for women’s rights and against colonial rule.
  11. Film Industry Trailblazers: Genevieve Nnaji is a Nigerian actress, producer, and director, known for her contributions to Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry.
  12. Marathon Legends: Kenyan runner Mary Keitany holds the women’s record in the marathon for a women-only race.
  13. Renowned Poets: Sudanese poet Safia Elhillo uses her unique voice to explore themes of identity, migration, and the African diaspora.
  14. Aeronautical Achievers: Patricia Mawuli Nyekodzi is the first woman in Ghana to earn a National Pilots License and the first to build and fly a light aircraft.
  15. Architectural Visionaries: Egyptian architect Zaha Hadid was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004.
  16. Digital Divas: Ethel Cofie, from Ghana, is an IT engineer and founder of Women in Tech Africa, Africa’s largest women in tech group.
  17. Beauty Entrepreneurs: Tara Fela-Durotoye, a Nigerian makeup artist and lawyer, founded House of Tara International, pioneering the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria.
  18. Innovative Chefs: South African chef Siba Mtongana has gained international fame for her show, “Siba’s Table,” promoting African cuisine.
  1. Trailblazing Pilots: Asnath Mahapa was the first female pilot in South Africa, overcoming gender barriers in a male-dominated field.
  2. Community Healers: Traditional healers across Africa, often women, play a critical role in healthcare, especially in rural areas.
  3. Legal Groundbreakers: Fatou Bensouda from The Gambia served as the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, promoting justice for serious crimes.
  4. Basketball Stars: Nigerian-American Nneka Ogwumike, a WNBA player, has been an advocate for women’s sports and social justice.
  5. Diplomatic Leaders: Amina J. Mohammed from Nigeria serves as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, advocating for sustainable development globally.
  6. Fashion Trailblazers: Senegalese fashion designer Diarra Bousso uses mathematics and algorithms to create unique patterns for her designs, blending tradition with modern technology.
  7. Young Prodigies: Zuriel Oduwole, an American girl of Nigerian and Mauritian descent, became the youngest filmmaker to have her work screened at a commercial cinema at just 12 years old.

These facts reflect just a fraction of the incredible diversity, resilience, and achievements of African women across the continent and the diaspora. Their stories continue to inspire and shape the future, breaking barriers and setting new standards in every field imaginable.

Who do you think we missed out on this list?

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