African LeadHERs team up for gender equality

Press Release • 05 July 2021

Senegalese organizations host fashion show to inspire, enable and engage women across Africa

Dakar, July 5 2021 – Advocacy tank Speak Up Africa and renowned fashion label Tongoro reaffirmed their commitment to gender equality by hosting a fashion show to mark the Generation Equality Forum. Held in Paris, France last week and convened by UN Women, the Forum fueled a powerful and enduring coalition for gender equality, bringing together governments, activists, corporations, feminist organizations, youth and allies to achieve transformative change. The week of events saw commitments of over USD $40 billion pledged for gender equality by governments, donors and corporates.

Recognizing the importance of voice, decision-making, arts and leadership as key elements of female empowerment, Speak Up Africa joined forces with the Senegalese fashion brand Tongoro and music artist Obree Daman for the show. 

Fashion has long been recognized as a way to empower women; for many of us clothes are not simply to be worn, they are also used to make a statement. I’ve worked with and dressed many inspiring and strong women throughout my career, and it’s a pleasure to do so in support of the Generation Equality Forum. Through this show, and the other activities taking place across Africa, we strive to improve gender equality and craft the continent’s future.

said Sarah Diouf, Founder of Tongoro.

Inspiring, enabling and engaging women, the show, called ‘African LeadHERS’, brought together leaders across the arts and cultural sector.

Women empowerment, and the inclusion of women and girls on public platforms and in leadership, is a fundamental right and critical to our development. As part of the Generation Equality Forum’s Action Coalition on economic justice and rights, I am proud to stand for increasing women’s economic empowerment. 2021 can be a landmark year in our fight for gender equality in Africa, but we must all act for equal. It’s an honor to see so many inspirational women uniting to share their voices and experiences, as the movement for gender equality gains pace across the African continent.

addedOulimata Sarr, Regional Director West and Central Africa at UN Women.

Gender equality is vital to the collective success of Africa against the sustainable development goals. Currently, it is expected that gender gaps will take over 120 years to close in Sub-Saharan Africa, and over 135 years for pay and leadership equity to be reached. With the fourth world conference on women taking place 26 years ago, too little has changed. Through hosting this event, Speak Up Africa wishes to reinforce that gender equality supports all the essential foundations for a healthy economy and prosperous nations. 

We are delighted to once again partner with Tongoro and share our passion for gender equality in Africa. Inspiration and empowerment take many forms, and this fashion show is a perfect example of how female-led organizations can support and uplift each other. Gender equality is paramount to achieving every one of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals and as a female-led organization we are committed to transforming this belief into meaningful action and engagement.

concluded Yacine Djibo, Founder and Executive Director of Speak Up Africa.

Learn more about Speak Up Africa’s commitment to gender equality by visiting our website


About Speak Up Africa

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a policy and advocacy action tank dedicated to catalyzing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa. With ensuring health and well-being of all at our core, we support SDGs 1 to 6 in transforming societies throughout Africa and making sure every man, woman, and child is empowered to live a long and healthy life.

Through our platforms and relationships and with the help of our partners, we ensure that policy makers meet implementers; that solutions are showcased and that every sector – from individual citizens and civil society groups to global donors and business leaders – contributes critically to the dialogue and strives to form the blueprints for concrete action for public health and sustainable development. 

Find here a selection of photos from the event. For further information please contact info@speakupafrica.org.

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About Tongoro

Launched in spring 2016 by Sarah Diouf, Tongoro is a 100% made in Africa label designed and produced in Dakar, Senegal. Our brand focuses on understanding the fashion that our customers want offering playful and unique apparel.

By sourcing our materials on the continent and working with local tailors, our long-term goal is to create a new dynamic for Africa-based manufacturing and foster the economic and social development of artisanal workers in Western Africa.

Tongoro has been listed amongst Fast Company’s 50 most innovative companies for 2020.

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