“I am here to share with you that the President of the Republic of Senegal Mr. Macky Sall has honoured me in proposing that I lead the new administration,” said Aminata Touré, in a press briefing in the capital city of Dakar on 1 September 2013, following the official announcement that she would become the country’s second female Prime Minister.
“I am accepting this mission in a challenging context marked by international crises … which most countries are facing today. However I believe that Senegal has the skills, the men and women to take up these challenges with dignity, discipline and resolve,” she said, reaffirming the need to accelerate the “race for development.”
Widely respected in Senegal and the region, the former Minister of Justice and Campaign Director for President Sall during the 2012 presidential elections, is fondly referred to in Senegal as ‘Mimi, the Iron Lady.’ Ms. Touré is an anti-corruption campaigner, human rights defender and a strong advocate for social justice, and gender equality. A former UN advisor and director, she has had an extensive international and national career in gender and human rights, family planning and reproductive health.
She served as the Director of Programmes for the Senegalese Association for Family Welfare (ASBEF), as a consultant for the UN Women (then UNIFEM) West Africa Regional Office. She then moved on to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), first as a Senior Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Family and Social Action in Burkina Faso, and later as Regional Advisor to UNFPA for francophone African countries and programme coordinator for Gender and HIV in West Africa. In 2003, she was appointed Director of the Gender, Culture and Human Rights Branch of UNFPA. She returned to Senegal in 2012 to take charge of the presidential campaign for Macky Sall.
Since taking charge of the Justice Ministry in April 2012, Ms. Touré has advocated change for gender equality and worked particularly closely with UN Women’s Regional office in Senegal. Her most recent achievement is a Nationality Law, which enables Senegalese women to grant their nationality to their spouses and children. In speaking on the nationality law, she singled out UN Women as an agency that had supported the Government of Senegal in advancing a transformative social and gender agenda.
“We must create a social movement to bring together on the same platform all actors in an effort to end violence against women and girls,” she said, at the December 2012 launch of a Government-UN Women project to promote women’s rights through improved access to justice. Ms. Touré becomes the second female to hold the position of Prime Minister since the country’s independence in 1960, after Mame Madior Boye briefly held the portfolio in March 2001.