The BBC has revealed its annual list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2023 recognising remarkable women globally who are influencing the future.
Over a dozen African women emerged as powerful and influential figures on the global stage, earning recognition and admiration for their impactful contributions across various fields. From politics to science, business to activism, these women embody resilience, brilliance, and a commitment to positive change.
The list, presented in no specific order, features 13 remarkable African women who stand out in the BBC 100 Women 2023 lineup:
1.Jennifer Uchendu, Nigeria
Mental health advocate
Jennifer Uchendu stands as the founder of SustyVibes, a youth-led organization dedicated to making sustainability both actionable and appealing.
In her recent endeavors, Uchendu has been actively involved in delving into the effects of the climate crisis on the mental health of Africans, with a particular emphasis on young individuals.
2.Yasmina Benslimane, Morocco
Founder of Politics4Her
Passionate about advancing gender equality, Yasmina Benslimane is the founder of Politics4Her, an organization committed to encouraging the active participation of young women and girls in political and decision-making processes.
3.Zandile Ndhlovu, South Africa
As South Africa’s first black female freediving instructor, Zandile Ndhlovu wants to make access to the ocean more diverse. She founded The Black Mermaid Foundation, which exposes young people and local communities to the ocean, in the hope of helping new groups to use these spaces recreationally, professionally and in sport.
4.Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Uganda
The award-winning Ugandan vet and conservationist is the founder and CEO of Conservation Through Public Health. The NGO promotes biodiversity conservation by enabling people, gorillas and other wildlife to co-exist, while improving their health and habitat.
5.Esi Buobasa, Ghana
A leading fishmonger in her village, Buobasa and her colleagues set up an association aimed at helping fisherwomen in the region, as their source of income is threatened by coastal erosion.
The alliance, which now has about 100 members, meets weekly to discuss issues affecting women in the business and makes monetary contributions to support families in need.
6.Neema Namadamu, Democratic Republic of Congo
Disability rights campaigner
Disability rights activist Neema Namadamu is the founder of Hero Women Rising, a grassroots organization that focuses on empowering women. Through education and technology, Namadamu’s organization seeks to amplify women’s voices and equip them with the skills to advocate for their rights.
7.Ulanda Mtamba, Malawi
Campaigner against child marriage
She advocates for enforcing existing laws that protect girls from early marriage, as well as for increased investment to address health risks associated with early pregnancy. She currently works as Malawi’s country director for AGE Africa, an organisation that seeks equal access to secondary school for all girls on the continent.
8.Vee Kativhu, Zimbabwe/UK
Content creator and YouTuber
Kativhu is the founder of Empowered by Vee, a platform through which she seeks to make higher education more accessible for unsupported or under-represented students around the world.
9.Shamsa Araweelo, Somalia/UK
Driven by her determination to end female genital mutilation (FGM), Shamsa Araweelo educates and raises awareness through her powerful and direct online videos. With more than 70 million views on TikTok, she wants to ensure that no-one remains uninformed.
10.Paulina Chiziane, Mozambique
With her 1990s debut, Ballad of Love in the Wind, Paulina Chiziane became the first woman to publish a novel in Mozambique.
Her work has been translated into various languages, including English, German and Spanish. With the book The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy, she won the local José Craveirinha Award. More recently she won the Camões Prize, considered the most prestigious writing award in Portuguese.
11.Susan Chomba, Kenya
Now a director at the World Resources Institute (WRI), Susan Chomba concerns herself with protecting forests, restoring landscapes and transforming Africa’s food systems. She shares her expertise with governments and researchers to build more resilient communities in the face of intensifying climate change.
12.Wanjira Mathai, Kenya
An inspiring leader for an entire continent, Wanjira Mathai has more than 20 years of experience advocating for social and environmental change.
Mathai is now the managing director for Africa and Global Partnerships at the World Resources Institute, and the chair of the Wangari Maathai Foundation. She currently serves as Africa adviser to the Bezos Earth Fund, as well as to the Clean Cooking Alliance and the European Climate Foundation.
13.Najla Mohamed-Lamin, Western Sahara
Women’s rights and climate activist