Claiming our stories,

Raising our voices 2021 

Women Leaders Online Conference

changing voices rectangle-05.jpg

“Claiming our stories, Raising our voices” brings together a host of partners to reset storytelling by giving a platform for young women leaders to share their stories and lessons for the new year.

On Thursday, January 21, 2020, 6am to 6pm SAST, we will join young leaders from across the globe in a series of talks, expert presentations and case studies to review best practices in communicating our stories for change.

The 12-hour online conference is targeted at— but not exclusive to — young women and gender non-conforming people in journalism, advocacy, communications, social media and leadership.

The conference itself is designed so that participants can come in and out during the day — with completed sessions uploaded immediately social media sites. As much as possible, each session will capture lessons learned.

The conference will have four themes:

  • Using Social Media for Change (including online security)

  • New ways of telling our stories

  • Harnessing technology for community

  • Communication in Leadership

Join us as women across the globe emphasise that they are speaking. And that they will speak truth to power despite the odds. 

The conference pace is deliberately fast and accessible for sharing on social media. Its hashtags include #ourstoriesourvoices2021 and #imspeaking2021. Look out for more information on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Keynote Speaker


Gulchehra A. Hoja

Gulchera was born on June 17, 1973 in Urumqi East Turkestan(Xinjiang China ) and is a Uyghur journalist, reporter & TV anchor with 25 years experience.

She graduated from Xinjiang Normal University in Urumqi City, 1996 and began her career at Xinjiang TV where she created the first ever Children TV program in the history of Uyghur Region.

Gulchera joined Radio Free Asia in 2001.

She is the recipient of the Sergei Magnitsky award recognized as Outstanding human rights activist 2019.

She also received the David Burke distinguished journalist award 2020 at RFA and the IWMF Courage in Journalism award 2020.



Saleeha Bamjee

Writer and Photographer

Saleeha has an MA in Creative Writing from Rhodes University and is the winner of the 2014 Writivism Short Story Prize. Her debut collection, Zikr (uHlanga Press, 2018} won the 2020 Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize.


Access her work online at

aidila razak (1).jpg

Aidila Razak

Special Reports  Editor at Malaysiakini

Aidila Razak is Special Reports Editor at Malaysiakini. She has been a journalist for 11 years.

She is passionate about social justice, human rights and good governance and likes exploring using data and technology to discover new ways of doing journalism. 

Chipo Bangira.jpg

Chipo Bangira

Chipo Bangira is a Zimbabwean feminist who has been active in the development sector  .


She is the Feminist and Transformational Leadership Manager at Akina Mama wa Afrika working on women’s leadership and policy advocacy.

Feminist & leadership manager

      Akina Mama wa Afrika

ElsaMarie D'Silva .jpg

ElsaMarie D'Silva

ElsaMarie is the Founder & CEO of Red Dot Foundation (India) and President of Red Dot Foundation Global (USA). Its platform Safecity, crowdsources personal experiences of sexual violence and abuse in public spaces. ElsaMarie is a 2020 IWF Fellow and a Gratitude Network Fellow, 2019 Reagan Fascell Fellow, a 2018 Yale World Fellow.

CEO Red Dot Foundation

Screenshot 2021-01-08 at 08.03.04.png

Cally Cheung

COO Prout

Cally Cheung is the Co-founder and COO of Prout which aims to build safer spaces to help connect and champion a healthier LGBTQ+ community in Singapore. 

Karla Ruiz Cofiño.peg

Karla Ruiz Cofiño

Digital Strategist, Social Media Specialist & Technology Ethics Enthusiast.

Entrepreneur, International Speaker, Social Activist & Woman Advocate.

Dedicated to help leaders connect with the world and use their influence to improve it!

Digital Strategist

Fungai January.jpg

Fungai Machiori

Fungai is a researcher and writer focusing on digital storytelling, identity politics and  feminism. She is also founder of Her Zimbabwe, an award-winning digital platform and organisation – which explored Zimbabwean women’s online storytelling and activism in the years it operated between 2012 and 2017. 

Writer and Researcher

Hera Hussain.png

Hera Hussain

Hera is the Founder of CHAYN - a global volunteer-run project crowdsourcing resources on the web to address gender-based violence. Chayn has reached more than 360 000 people through its resources which are designed with survivors of abuse. She was born in Scotland, raised in Pakistan and is now living in the UK.

CHAYN Founder, Pakistan

Koketso Moeti.PNG

Koketso Moeti

Koketso is a founding member of the African Digital Rights Network and an expert advisor of the World Economic Forum's 'Partnering with Civil Society in the Fourth Industrial Revolution' initiative.  She is a 2019/2020 Atlantic fellow for racial equity. She is also part of the inaugural class of Obama Foundation fellows and an Aspen New Voices senior fellow.

Executive Director

Moky Makura.jpeg

Moky Makura

Moky has also been the Deputy Director for Communications Africa at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2017. Moky has an Honours degree in Politics, Economics and Law from Buckingham University. She serves on the advisory boards of three non-profits including Junior Achievement Africa and the Houtbay Partnership and was recently appointed to the board of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

Executive Director  Africa No Filter  

Screenshot 2021-01-08 at 09.40.16.png

Penelope Sanyu

Penelope is a fearless influencer, feminist, vlogger, disrupter and unconditional lover. She stewards the team at Femme forte Uganda and is excited to start fires that will help young women imagine, create and teach possible futures in their immediate communities.

Penelope has a wealth of knowledge working with Civil Society, she leads the team at Femme Forte Uganda, a feminist entity seeking to break barriers and reach new heights for women in Uganda.

Femme Forte Chief Steward, Uganda

Nirmika Singh high res b_w (1).jpg

Nirmika Singh

Nirmika is also an accomplished poet and lyricist and has collaborated with celebrated composers such as A.R. Rahman and Clinton Cerejo.

As the editorial head of Rolling Stone India since 2015, Nirmika spearheaded the rebranding of the cult magazine to reflect a more youthful, contemporary and pop culture-centric approach in both its print and digital avatars. 

Executive Producer Rolling Stone India