Cécilia Attias on the Huffington Post

On April 7th, Malawi named its first female president. Mrs. Joyce Banda is the daughter of a policeman and the eldest of five children; her rise to power took her swiftly up through the ranks of a mainly conservative and male dominated society. She is only the second woman to lead a country in Africa. The other is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia (and herself the recipient of a Nobel Peace prize).

All too often western perceptions of the African continent are clichéd and outdated; yet these two African countries have elected women as their leaders, something that many western nations, including the US, have yet to do.

My Dialogue for Action Africa conference, which will be held in Gabon this year, celebrates these achievements. It also demands that more progress follow, not just in African countries but in lots of other nations too.