It is difficult for me as a journalist to see important stories go untold. But perhaps more important, as a woman of color, I am pained when the powerful stories of incredible women and minorities are not brought to light’. Amisha Padnani

The International Womens day 2018 saw a number of phenomenal women being featured in news articles. It is a privilege to come behind the trailblazers who fought battles as pioneers that many of us will not have to. We celebrate all trailblazers, whether listed here or not. We begin from a local (Kenyan) perspective to the global arena.

We would love to know – who is your phenomenal inclusion trailblazer?

Please share with us through:

  1. Our very own Kenyan trailblazers

You can click here to read on these phenomenal women

2. The Women of Africa BBC series

‘If your dreams do not scare you, they are probably not big enough’ HE Ellen Sirleaf Johnson

To access these videos , click here 

3. Overlooked‘ Series on the NYTimes

Obituary writing is more about life than death: the last word, a testament to a human contribution. Yet who gets remembered — and how — inherently involves judgment. To look back at the obituary archives can, therefore, be a stark lesson in how society valued various achievements and achievers…Now we are adding stories of remarkable women’.  Amisha Padnani and Jessica Bennett. March 8 2018.



#Press for Progress

Happy International Womens Day!

Comrades, there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. May my eyes never see and my feet never take me to a society where half the people are held in silence. I hear the roar of women’s silence. I sense the rumble of their storm and feel the fury of their revolt.”  Thomas Sankara, former President of Burkina Faso.

Its been quite a year in the gender equality and inclusion space…with the me too movement against sexual harassment,  ongoing equal pay campaigns in many countries and  the Black Panther movie  among others. We share two recent videos with learnings on gender equality, intersectionality and on power issues and the ‘rebel alliance’ below.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Press for Progress and you can read more about the Day here.

We would love to know what has shaped your understanding and thinking on gender equality this year?

Please share with us through:

#Press for Progress 1# We share a video that was featured by KIT Royal Tropical Institute and UN Women who hosted a public lecture by Prof. Naila Kabeer with the title Locked out and left behind? Gender, intersecting inequalities and the SDGs.”


#Press for Progress 2# On the eve of this years  International Womens Day we share a second discussion by the Center of Global Development with the theme Practicing what we preach: How can development organizations do better on women’s equality in the workplace? that is inward looking – how can organisations ‘remove the log in their own eyes’ before or as they champion gender equality in the messaging, activities and programs. This raises a question: are we moving beyond awareness of social inclusion into practice of social inclusion in our spheres of influence?



Inclusive Initiatives and Events

There are several exciting initiatives and events  in the Inclusion space that we’d like to share with you all:

The Levers in Heels Website that was founded by Larisa Bowen-Dodoo (Ghana) highlights rising African women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and showcases their achievements.This is a great platform to enhance the visibility and networking opportunities for women in STEM- and can be a wonderful tool for mentoring young women and men in Africa and beyond.

You can send in your STEM contacts to the Levers in Heels email address


The Inclusive Leadership 2018 online Global Conference (16-20 April 2018)

Register for here for this Free Online Event


This is an initiative by Thais Compoint, an internationally acclaimed specialist in inclusive leadership. Thais is a speaker, facilitator, consultant, the author of the book “Succeed as an inclusive leader”, the creator of the Inclusive Leadership Global Conference  and of the Inclusiveship Academy, and host of the YouTube show and podcast “The Inclusiveship Show”.

  The World Inequality Report 2018 developed by the World Inequality Lab

The report measures income and wealth inequality in a systematic and transparent manner.  The report shows ‘that income inequality has increased in nearly all world regions in recent decades, but at different speeds. The fact that inequality levels are so different among countries, even when countries share similar levels of development, highlights the important roles that national policies and institutions play in shaping inequality’ and hence importance of inclusive development. The World Inequality Lab seeks to fill a democratic gap and to equip various actors of society with the necessary facts to engage in informed public debates on inequality.


Quote for the week – Margaret Ogola

“Unless we recognise that each individual is irrepeatable and valuable by virtue of simply being conceived human, we cannot begin to talk about human rights. This includes the right to be born, as all of us have enjoyed. True justice should be for each human being, visible and invisible, young and old, disabled and able, to enjoy fully their right to life. The accidental attributes that we acquire such as colour, sex intelligence, economic circumstances, physical or mental disability should not be used as an excuse to deprive a person of life.”

Taken from a speech made in Beijing in 1995 called “On the Dignity of the African Woman”, which can be viewed here.  Margaret Ogola has inspired many readers in Kenya and beyond with her novels, which often give a particular focus to the status of women in society.  She died of cancer in 2011, you can read more about her in this newspaper article here and a warm, powerful tribute here which also discusses issues of Gender and Sexuality in depth.

Social Inclusion Hero: Celebrating Dr Denis Mukwege (DR Congo)

For this piece, we thought it appropriate to honour the work of Dr Denis Mukwege in Bukavu, DR Congo, who has gone from being a pioneering surgeon to an international human rights advocate in the fight against Rape and Sexual Violence. There is growing awareness worldwide that rape is used as a weapon of war in conflict. We wish to bring attention to the enormous challenge facing women and children and especially those in conflict situations.

Image result for dr denis mukwege

Dr. Denis Mukwege, 62,  is a world-renowned gynaecological surgeon who is the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He founded the hospital in 1999 as a clinic for gynaecological and obstetric care, and expected to be working on issues of maternal health. Since 1999, however, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have helped to care for more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence. The hospital not only treats survivors with physical wounds, but also provides legal, and psycho-social services to its patients. Even patients who cannot afford post-rape medical care are treated without charge at Panzi Hospital.

“When war turns on women and children, I think the world must do more for them,” he says.

For an overview about Dr Denis, please see here and a recent article giving a summary of his work is here.

The work of Panzi Foundation can be read about here and specifically the Panzi holistic healing model is described here.

There is also a more in-depth article from 2009 that is still very relevant today and is co-authored by Dr Denis with Cathy Nangini titled “Rape with Extreme Violence: The New Pathology in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo” that can be read here.

Dr. Denis Mukwege is our first Social Inclusion Hero(ine) for February 2017 and we plan to honour many more on a monthly basis.  If you would like to propose someone, please do get in touch…

E-mail us at

I am not Your Inspiration, Thank you Very Much!

by Stella Young (TED Talk)

”I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve been approached by strangers wanting to tell me that they think I’m brave or inspirational, and this was long before my work had any kind of public profile. They were just kind of congratulating me for managing to get up in the morning and remember my own name.  And it is objectifying. These images, those images objectify disabled people for the benefit of non disabled people. They are there so that you can look at them and think that things aren’t so bad for you, to put your worries into perspective”. Stella Young (April 2014).

You can watch the video here or by clicking on the picture below:

Stella Young is a comedian and journalist who happens to go about her day in a wheelchair — a fact that doesn’t, she’d like to make clear, automatically turn her into a noble inspiration to all humanity. In this very funny talk, Young breaks down society’s habit of turning disabled people into “inspiration porn.”

 This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxSydney (Australia), an independent event.

January Quotes

Courtesy of New African magazine (January 2018 edition), here are some beautiful quotes to inspire you – each of the people has a link to their Wikipedia page if you want to know more about them:

“Don’t under-estimate the power of people.  Our weakness is that we do not know how powerful we are – and we are not using the power we have as citizens.  Go out there and organise, organise, organise.  Mobilise, mobilise, mobilise.  We’ll get there.”  (Graca Machel, Mozambique)

“Men must stand shoulder to shoulder with women.  Men have a responsibility to speak out in their communities for the women they love.”  (Dr. Denis Mukwege, DR Congo)

“Leadership is about falling in love with the people you serve and the people falling in love with you.” (Joyce Banda, Malawi)

“It’s high time that leaders got off their high horse and mingle with the masses, feel the scorching sun and the heat of the matter.  Only then will the passion be ignited.” (Yemi Alade, Nigeria)

“You are never too young to lead, and you should doubt your capacity to triumph where others have not.” (Kofi Annan, Ghana)