Cotonou, March 15, 2023 – In honor of International Women’s Day, U.S. Embassy Cotonou (via the Federal Women’s Program) hosted a conference of distinguished women leaders to promote the advancement of women in Benin and worldwide. The conference drew over 200 participants from government agencies, the diplomatic corps, private sector, civil society and a local public school. The guest of honor was Benin’s Vice President Mariam Chabi Talata Zimé Yérima.
During the conference, Vice-President and former member of parliament and educator Chabi Talata Zimé Yérima shared her experience in politics and counseled female attendees about how to break the glass ceiling. Other participants included entrepreneur Ismène Ahamidé Zoumenou (who discussed balancing between professional success and personal life), tech entrepreneur Rachael Orumor (who shared tips on succeeding in male-dominated sectors), and professional counselor Armelle Edjo (who discussed continual professional evolution).
In his opening address, U.S. Ambassador Brian Shukan said that gender equity and DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility) are U.S. priorities that undergird the Embassy’s work. Citing just one example, he noted, “In Benin, the U.S. Mission trains the next generation of women entrepreneurs through the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs, which trained over 240 women. We cannot build the world we want without the full and equal participation, the rights and dignity of women and girls around the world.”
The speakers highlighted the U.S. Embassy’s commitment to advancing women through education and counselling. It also provided attendees with networking opportunities, allowing them to connect with a range of women leaders with diverse backgrounds. The Embassy looks forward to hosting similar events in the future and continuing to promote gender equality.