Maeza Ashenafi, an Ethiopian and lawyer by training started Ethiopian Women Lawyer’s Association (EWLA). In 2001, the Ethiopian government suspended the organisation for speaking out on the judicial organ’s failures to prosecute domestic violence.
In 2003 Ashenafi and Sara Longwe, a Zambian activist were awarded the 15th annual Africa Prize for Leadership. This was due to their unrelenting efforts at improving women welfare, in their respective countries.
Amongst the activist role, Longwe stood up against Zambian government’s treacherous corruption that siphoned global fund monies instead of its intended aim of reaching out to those HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB.
In 2001, the two ladies also firmly stood against George W. Bush’s 2001 order prohibiting USAID and the state Department from awarding funds to any groups that educate women about abortion as a family planning option.
Numerous women from various circles of life have done great things and have stood up against the belittlement of women.
In medieval times, the woman was always referred to as the weaker sex, was always undermined in her abilities and considered secondary in almost every activity. Confined to domestic activities, tradition also dictated that some dishes were meant to be savoured by the men.
However, going by the modern code, she was deprived of her human rights.
The male domination degenerated into mistreatment and unfair deprivation.
But in a span of decades, more women are standing up and slowly, a turning point has been achieved through a sustained emancipation struggle for increased consideration in leadership circles and more respect within the family unit.
Rwanda is no exception with the strict practice of traditional norms mostly with the biggest part of the population uneducated and still strongly tied to culture.
But in a regime that followed the genocide against the Tutsi, policies to ensure gender equality were put in place.
Due to the changes, in the world over Rwanda is being recognised for increased mechanisms to improve the welfare of women.
As a result there is more enrolment of women in leadership circles for example, 56.2percent female representation in parliament.
In Liberia, the incumbent president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became president to a country that had for decades endured long period of bloodshed from its diamond mines by greedy male presidents like Charles Taylor.
Currently, Sirleaf is slowly rebuilding a tattered nation.
In Rwanda, the big number of women in leadership has boosted confidence amongst women. Rwanda successfully passed the law against Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Some of the iconic female human rights activists in Rwanda include; Immaculate Ingabire, a consultant with United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). After returning from Burundi, where she grew up, Ingabire looked at the consequences of the Rwandan genocide towards the women and children and felt she had to do something.
At the start, she settled down as a journalist and endeavoured to unearth societal issues affecting women.
Later, she left the newsroom and took on the role of an activist. She got closer to the Rwandan woman to study her struggles in a traditional climate.
The Rwandan government has also given an ear to female activists. It has tabled bills that on being passed have been implementated.