Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a feminist activist, policy advocate, writer and social entrepreneur. She has a BA (1984) and MA (1988) in History from the University of Ife, Nigeria (now Obafemi Awolowo University). She also received an MA in Gender and Society (1992) from Middlesex University, UK. She is currently Principal Partner, Amandla Consulting, specializing in leadership development for women, and she runs an online community for women called Abovewhispers.com. She is also a UN Women Nigeria Adviser.
She has worked on women’s rights issues for many years around the world. She served as the Director of AMwA, an international development organisation for African women based in London, UK, from 1991-2001, where she helped establish the African Women’s Leadership Institute that has produced over 6,000 women leaders across Africa. She served as Executive Director of the African Women’s Development Fund, (AWDF) – the first Africa-wide grant-making foundation, which she co-founded with two other African women, from 2001-2010. AWDF has played a key role in the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Africa, through its support of grassroots initiatives, policy engagements and movement building for social justice, and has funded over 1,200 women’s organisations in 42 African countries.
Bisi served as First Lady of Ekiti State, Nigeria (2010-2014) when her husband Dr Kayode Fayemi (now Federal Minister for Mines and Steel) became Governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria. As First Lady of Ekiti State, she led campaigns to pass three laws – a Gender Based Violence Prohibition Bill which was signed in to law in November 2011, an Equal Opportunities Bill which became law in December 2013, and an Anti HIV Stigma Bill in 2014.
Bisi is on the board of the African Women’s Development Fund, and also serves on the board of the Global Fund for Women where she chairs the Program Committee. She is the recipient of the 2011 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of philanthropy, given by the Synergos Institute, New York. In June 2011, the New African Magazine named Bisi as one of the 100 Most Influential People of Africa. She has a PhD (Honoris Causa) in Sociology from the Tai Solarin University of Education, Nigeria. Bisi is the author of ‘Speaking for Myself’: Perspectives on Social, Political and Feminist Activism (2013) and ‘Speaking above a Whisper’, (2013) an autobiography. She also co-edited ‘Voice, Power and Soul’, with Jessica Horn (2008) a compilation of images and stories of African Feminists.