Gender Learning 2021 - Women Leading the Way for Change – Stories from the Frontlines

"Powerful women share stories of bold leadership, innovative approaches they took throughout their lives and during the COVID-19 crisis"

This Bite+ features a conversation with four incredible women leaders about leading through change and reimagining the future post COVID-19. The discussions, moderated by CNN’s Zain Asher, begins with a conversation with Ngozi Okonjo-Iw... view more


Opening Remarks by Mamta Murthi Vice President, Human Development, The World Bank


Highlights of the Long-term Consequences of COVID-19 on Women by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Development Economist and Former Finance Minister of Nigeria,  AU COVID-19 and WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy. 


Panel - Part 1: How does one incorporate a gender lens when it comes to investing in teams? What are the long-term consequences of the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles, specifically in private equity?


Panel - Part 2: Where has Tanzania made progress when it comes to gender equality and where do the gaps remain? How can we dismantle some of the cultural views of where a woman's place is in society?


Panel - Part 3: How does one innovate to address gender gaps while working in the government? What are some of the stereotypes that one has to surmount while leading the way to change?

About the Presenters

Zain Asher

Anchor, CNN International 

Zain Asher is an anchor for CNN International based in New York. She currently anchors weekend editions of CNN Newsroom, and can regularly be seen filling in on the network’s premier business programs, Quest Means Business and First Move with Julia Chatterley. Asher also hosts Marketplace Africa, CNNI’s weekly business show about the continent and its place within global markets, and often interviews CEOs and world leaders for the program. She has anchored CNN’s special coverage around #MyFreedomDay, a global call to action that raised awareness of modern-day slavery all over the world, as well as the deaths of Fidel Castro, boxing legend Muhammad Ali and singer George Michael. In addition to anchoring major breaking news stories for CNN, she has reported from the field on high-profile stories like the 2014 kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria, and the 2013 terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. Asher previously served as a CNN business correspondent covering the stock market from the New York Stock Exchange, U.S. Federal Reserve monetary policy, and high-profile IPOs. Asher joined CNN from MONEY magazine where she covered careers and investing. Prior to MONEY, Asher was a general assignment reporter for News 12 in the greater New York area. Born and raised in London, Asher graduated from Oxford University where she studied French and Spanish and graduated with a distinction in oral Spanish. In 2006, she earned an MS from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She is fluent in French, Spanish and Ibo (her native Nigerian dialect).

Mamta Murthi

Vice President, Human Development, The World Bank

Mamta started as Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank on July 1, 2020. In this role she oversees the Global Practices for Education; Health, Nutrition, and Population; Gender; Social Protection and Jobs – as well as the Human Capital Project. Mamta has held many leadership positions at the World Bank, including as Director of Operations Policy (2019), Director of Strategy and Operations in Infrastructure (2018), Director of Strategy and Operations in the Africa Region (2015-2018), and Regional Country Director for the EU, based in Brussels (2012-15). An economist by training, she has had technical roles in Social Protection and Labor (1996-2004) and Education (2006-10). She was Deputy Director of the World Development Report on Development and the Next Generation in 2006. During 1998-2000, Mamta was MacArthur Fellow for Poverty and Inequality at King’s College, Cambridge. Mamta joined the World Bank as a Young Professional in 1995. She has a Bachelors’ Degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, the University of Delhi, and a D.Phil in Economics from the University of Oxford. Mamta has written extensively on poverty, demography, education, pensions, and skills and is well-known for her econometric studies on fertility in India. 

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Development Economist and Former Finance Minister of Nigeria,  AU COVID-19 Special Envoy (Finance) and WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy (ACT-Accelerator)

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is an economist and international development expert with over 30 years of experience. She is Co-Chair of The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. She also sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc. She was Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (2016 – 2020), and of the African Risk Capacity, ARC (2014 – 2020). Previously, she served as Senior Advisor at Lazard from September 2015 – October 2019. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was recently appointed as AU COVID-19 Special Envoy (Finance) and WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy (ACT-Accelerator). She is the Director General-designate of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Dr. Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006, 2011-2015, and briefly as Foreign Minister, the first woman to hold both positions. She spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist working on economic development programs and policy reforms including trade policy in middle and low-income countries. She rose to the No.2 position of Managing Director at the World Bank, overseeing an $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was named Forbes African of the Year (2020), Minister of the Decade, People’s Choice Award (2020) by Nigeria’s This Day newspaper. She also received the International Service Award of the World Affairs Councils of America (2020) as well as the Aminu Kano Award for Leadership (2020). In 2019, she was named one of Transparency International’s 8 Female Anti-Corruption Fighters Who Inspire. She has been ranked by Fortune as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders in 2015, by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World consecutively for four years, by Time as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2014, and by the UK Guardian as one of the Top 100 Women in the World in 2011. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala holds a Bachelor’s in Economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is an Angelopoulos Global Public Leader at Harvard University Kennedy School, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received sixteen honorary degrees, including from Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Tel Aviv University, and Trinity College, Dublin. She is the author of numerous articles on finance and development, and several books including Women and Leadership - Real Lives, Real Lessons co-authored with Julia Gillard (Penguin Random House, 2020) Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines (MIT Press, 2018) and Reforming the Unreformable: Lessons from Nigeria (MIT Press, 2012), The Debt Trap in Nigeria co-ed with Charles Soludo and Mansour Muhtar (Africa World Press, 2003). 

Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva

Founder & CEO of India Alternatives

Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva is the Founder & CEO of India Alternatives, a reputable mid-market, domestic private equity fund focused on investing behind transformational themes in India such as women becoming more empowered as consumers. Shivani has over 18 years of global private equity experience in the US and in India at top funds including GE Equity, Lightyear Capital, and IDFC Private Equity. Shivani has helped shape strategy at market-leading companies through board-level involvement and has been instrumental in generating stellar returns for her investors. Shivani has received accolades and recognition for being one of the top women leaders in Finance in India. Shivani received an MBA from the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Economics from Mount Holyoke College (Phi-Beta-Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, Sarah Williston Scholar).

Jokate Mwegelo

Politician and the District Commissioner (DC) for Kisarawe District, Pwani Region-Tanzania.

Jokate Urban Mwegelo, 33 years old, is a Politician and the District Commissioner (DC) for Kisarawe District, Pwani Region-Tanzania. Jokate a Political Scientist by profession with a family background in International Diplomacy that chartered her previous career as a Forbes internationally recognized Young Woman Entrepreneur, an awarded Development and Rights Advocate, and a recognized Fashion and Media Personality. Shortly after venturing into party politics as CCMs Youth Wing UVCCM Secretary of Public Relations and Mobilization, Jokate was appointed by the President of Tanzania Hon. John Pombe Magufuli, into the President's Office as a District Commissioner in late July 2018, where among others, she chairs the Defense and Security Committee and oversees the District's Sustainable Development with various partners in collaboration with the District Council. Jokate is currently one of the most influential young leaders in Africa and has earned various influential national and international leadership awards. She was awarded the First Place (2018/2019) by the Korea Foundation for International Health Care KOFIH, and also received the SRH, Maternal and Neonatal Health Promotions Honorary Award by Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP) for District Budgets on Gender Sensitive Issues, and the most recently the Most Influential Young Tanzanian in Law and Governance award by Avance Media, two years in a row also naming her the most influential female in Tanzania (2018-2020). In 2019, Jokate was also listed among the Top 50 women in management by Women In Management Africa. Jokate led the National Award Winning Most Influential Education Campaign Tokomeza Zero Kisarawe which not only garnered more than Tsh. 1 Billion to repair education infrastructure and build classes; but also has successfully built the innovative 460 Girl Students' Jokate Girls Secondary Boarding School in Kisarawe, along with creating temporary boarding safe spaces for National Exams Candidate Students. This has not only eliminated half of National Exam failures in Kisarawe but also has created safe spaces for Girls' students to study and pursue their dreams away from predatory harmful practices of rape, early marriages, and child pregnancies. Jokate is currently building up focus to collaborate with various stakeholders in the Government, Development Partners, and Private Sector on Economic Empowerment Programs for Women and Youth. She is engineering a plan to transform Kisarawe District into a commercial hub of Innovative Agriculture and Manufacturing employing advanced technologies targeting Dar Es Salaam and Export Markets. By mobilizing around USD 4 Million and multiple stakeholders within 3 years, she believes it is possible to create more than 30,000 jobs by building more than 100 youth and women-led agribusiness startup companies.

Rana el Kaliouby

Co-Founder and CEO, Affectiva

A pioneer in Emotion AI, Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D., is Co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva, and author of the newly released book Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology. A passionate advocate for humanizing technology, ethics in AI, and diversity, Rana has been recognized on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list and as one of Forbes' Top 50 Women in Tech. Rana is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a Young Presidents' Organization member and has also co-hosted a PBS NOVA series on AI. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and a Post Doctorate from MIT.