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Aoua Keita
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Aoua Keita: An Extraordinary Trailblazer in Malian Women’s History

Aoua Keita: An Extraordinary Trailblazer in Malian Women’s History

Aoua Keita was a prominent figure in Mali’s history, particularly in the arena of women’s rights. Born in 1912 in Bamako, Mali, Aoua was the daughter of a wealthy merchant and a teacher. From a young age, she was passionate about women’s rights and pursued this cause tirelessly. Even after Mali gained independence from France, Aoua continued to work towards women’s rights, becoming one of the most influential women in Malian history.

Aoua Keita’s Advocacy For Women

Aoua began her career in the field of women’s rights as a teacher. She quickly became known for her unwavering commitment towards women’s education and empowerment. Her work in the field of education and women’s rights led to her appointment as the director of the Centre d’Études Feminines, a government-created organization that aimed to help women in Mali. Aoua also worked as a journalist and wrote many articles that pushed for women’s rights, discussing the various challenges faced by women in Mali and how they could be overcome.


Aoua Keita’s activism for women’s rights led to her being sought after as a political leader. In 1960, Mali gained independence from France and held its first elections. Aoua was a candidate for the National Assembly and won, becoming the first woman to hold such a position in her country. She later served as the Prime Minister of the Social Affairs and Promotion of Women from 1970 to 1978, leading various social and cultural programs that directly impacted women’s rights.

Aoua Keita’s Work With International Organizations

Aoua’s work in promoting women’s rights eventually took her to international organizations such as the United Nations. She served as an advisor for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and became a member of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Additionally, Aoua sat on the advisory boards of several international organizations, including the African Regional Bureau for Women.

Awards And Recognition

Aoua was widely known for her work in women’s rights and was recognized for her efforts on several occasions. In 1991, she was awarded the Étalon d’Or, the highest honor in Mali. She was later awarded the grand cross of the National Order of Mali, one of the most prestigious awards that can be bestowed on a Malian citizen.

Aoua Keita’s Legacy

Aoua’s dedication to promoting women’s rights has had a significant impact on the country of Mali and the world at large. Today, many women in Mali hold political and social positions thanks to efforts put in place by Aoua. Her legacy and work continue to inspire women to pursue their goals despite the barriers they face.

Aoua Keita was a trailblazer, an activist, and an inspiration to many. She paved the way for women in Mali and beyond to pursue their dreams and fight for their rights. Her legacy continues to influence women and motivate them to strive for better lives and opportunities. Aoua’s work shows the importance of advocating for women’s rights and the impact it can have on society. Aoua Keita is undoubtedly one of the most prominent figures in Mali’s history, and her accomplishments will never be forgotten.

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Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights


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