Guinea: Cissé Hadja Mariama Sow

The economic promotion of women is one of the fundamental ways of giving women a sense of dignity."

— Cissé Hadja Mariama Sow

Cissé Hadja Mariama Sow was born in Guinea and is a national of that country today. She is president of the Union of Oulémas Women of Guinea (UFOG) and has had a brilliant political and professional career. Madame Sow was born into a large Peuhl family in the region of Labé in Guinea. She is married and is the mother of eight children.

Cissé Hadja Mariama Sow has worked for women’s causes for more than 50 years and has never given up work despite her advanced age since, according to her, there are always challenges and it is necessary to confront them. She favors the training and education of women so that they learn to defend their rights as wives and mothers. Therefore, she encourages mobilizing and creating awareness among women through women’s associations in Guinean civil society. The success of her work can be measured by how she propelled Guinean women into an African women’s movement. The fight of Guinean women under the first president after Guinea's independence (1958–1984) was so well conducted that she served as a reference for women of other African, especially French-speaking, countries. The president of the Union of the Oulémas Women of Guinea (UFOG) and of the Coordination Office of the Associations of the Muslim Women of Guinea, she tirelessly works for religious participation and for the creation of an interreligious space. She campaigns for the unification and consolidation of peace in the region of the River Mano. Her association’s goal is to promote this Muslim religion in the country while fighting against religious fanaticism. Cissé Hadja Mariama Sow has campaigned a great deal in youth organizations, particularly in the Youth for a Democratic African Gathering (RDA) and in the Organisation of Guinea Workers’ Unions. She was elected as general secretary of the Union of Revolutionary Women of Guinea. In 1972, she was elected representative to the National Assembly where she remained for 12 years. She was the first president of the Association of Women of West Africa (AFAO) reflecting on the concept of western Africa under the aegis of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Union des Femmes Oulémas de Guinée (UFOG) West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP)