Mali: Fatoumata Diakite

One cannot add one’s name to the honor list by wishing alone. There is room only for those who have earned their place through hard work.

— Fatoumata Diakite

Fatoumata Diakite (50) was born in Bamako and has fought for the Malian women's movement for many years. She denounces female genital mutilation in Mali and is a defender of the cause of the African woman. Her association runs a law clinic for woman and child victims of social injustice.

Fatoumata Siré Diakité is a major name in the Malian women’s movement. Her face is one of the most well-known and visible in the fight for Malian women’s rights. She created the Association for the Progress and Defense of the Rights of Women (APDF). This structure very quickly had an effect on the national landscape. The association spent a number of years appealing to decision-makers for the adoption of a law against female circumcision. At the same time, there was a focus on raising women's awareness on their rights. Through the association, Fatoumata Siré Diakité immediately won national confidence. She made it known internationally and, as its president, was invited to many international fora because of her fight for rights in Mali. In her fight, she had to come up against a lack of understanding in certain militant environments. She became the target of Islamists who have fought against her ideas in defense of the rights of women. Fatoumata had a long career of responsibility within the National Union of the Workers of Mali (UNTM). Awarded a diploma in Bamako, English became her speciality and she was trained at the university of Lancaster, England, and at the International Center of Work Formation (BBIT) in Turin, Italy. Fatoumata Siré lectures on the establishment of women’s rights around the world and to the United Nations. She has many responsibilities within the French-speaking world and in the West African coalition against the illegal trade in women and children. She also coordinated the activities of French-speaking women at the Summit of Beijing in 1995.

Association pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits de la Femme (APDF)