Isabel dos Santos is an ambitious woman, a woman with dreams for her country, Angola. She has said “African women who gather dreams are invincible.” And as a powerful businesswoman, she has made many of her dreams come true. One of her major concerns for Angola and for Africa is the position of women in the workforce.
She has experienced gender discrimination herself. She knows what it feels like. But this Angolan woman got her education in London, at King’s College. Her degree in engineering was presented to Isabel dos Santos with distinction. She came back to Africa, armed to do battle with the forces holding women down.
Africa’s traditions are almost entirely patriarchal. Women have been treated as chattel for centuries. For Isabel dos Santos, the time has come for change. She has been promoting programs that train women in skills previously reserved for men. She is an outspoken advocate of equality for her sisters, starting with education for the girls and medical and wellness programs to keep them healthy.
At a recent economic conference in Russia Isabel dos Santos called for an Africa where not only a basic education is available to girls, but where universities welcome all students, regardless of gender.
Economic empowerment of women will come partly through the development of companies like Strawberry Plantation. This company is run by women, who are using the funds generated by the strawberry fields to invest in other ventures. They are insuring a brighter future for themselves and their children.
She has a 5 step economic development plan.
- Set goals.
- Conduct market research.
- Gather investments.
- Become partners with your investors.
- Never give up.
One of the most obvious characteristics of this strong woman is her persistence. She does not surrender. And Angola will be better because of her determination.