1st March, 2021
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reported for her historic duty at the Geneva office of the World Trade Organisation on Monday with trademark fashion statement: decked in African wax fabric.
Pictures posted online showed the first African woman to head the WTO, arriving the office in a three-piece ankara ensemble.
She was received by officials of the organisation.
She already indicated some of her priorities, saying she would back efforts among member countries to agree on fisheries subsidies that could reduce overfishing.
“I am coming into one of the most important institutions in the world and we have a lot of work to do,” she said, adding “I feel ready to go.”
The two-time former Nigerian finance minister started work, with a distractive controversy generated by a Dutch newspaper, which had derogatorily referred to her as the ‘grandmother new chief of WTO’.
The paper was heavily criticised for the sexism and racism by UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva.
The paper was forced to apologise.
Okonjo-Iweala tweeted the apology on Monday and thanked all the people who had petitioned the paper.
“I’m thankful to all my sisters, UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva who signed the petition on calling out the racist & sexist remarks in this newspaper. It is important & timely that they’ve apologized”, she wrote.
I’m thankful to all my sisters, UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva who signed the petition on calling out the racist & sexist remarks in this newspaper. It is important & timely that they’ve apologized. @phumzileunwomen, @Winnie_Byanyima pic.twitter.com/pyz1TQ3tKA
— Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (@NOIweala) February 28, 2021
‘We need to call out this behavior when it happens. This is precisely what my book Women & Leadership coauthored with @JuliaGillard talks about – the stereotypes women face when they take on leadership positions’, she added.