Winnie Byanyima was born in Mbarara District in Uganda on January 15th, in 1959 to Boniface, a part of the Democratic Party in Uganda, and Gertrude, who used to work as a schoolteacher. She attended Mount Saint Mary’s College Namagunga in Mukono District in Uganda. She then attended the University of Manchester, where she received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering, thus becoming the first woman from Uganda to become an aeronautical engineer. Byanyima also got her master’s degree from Cranfield University in mechanical engineering, while she specialized in the conservation of energy.
After college, Byanyima became a flight engineer for Ugandan Airlines, but when the Ugandan Bush War began, she joined the armed rebellion, the National Resistance Army (NRA). Once the war was over, Byanyima decided to serve as Uganda’s ambassador to France from 1989-1994. In 1994, she became a member of the Constituent Assembly, where she took part in drafting the 1995 Ugandan Constitution. Also in 1994, Byanyima became a member of parliament until 2004. While she was in parliament, she co-founded the Global Gender and Climate Alliance, chaired a United Nations task force on gender and climate change, created an all-women parliamentary caucus, and was the founding leader of the Forum for Women in Democracy. She was the director of the Directorate of Women, Gender, and Development in the African Union. She was also the appointed the Gender Team in the Bureau of Development Policy at the UNDP director in 2006. In 2013, she became the executive director of Oxfam International. In 2015, Byanyima co-chaired the World Economic Forum in Davos, and in 2016, she was appointed to the High Level Panel on Access to Medicines by the United Nations Secretary-General.
Winnie Byanyima is married to Kizza Besgye, a politician and previous chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change in Uganda. Together they have worked to change the politics throughout Uganda to make it a more equal society for men and women, poor and wealthy, and government and citizens. They also have a son named Anselm.
- Byanyima, Winnie. “Winnie Byanyima.” World Bank Blogs, 9 Apr. 2014, blogs.worldbank.org/team/winnie-byanyima. Accessed 31 Mar. 2017.
- “Winnie Byanyima, Biography.” Winnie Byanyima, Biography | Oxfam International, http://www.oxfam.org/en/winnie-byanyima-biography. Accessed 31 Mar. 2017.
- “Winnie Byanyima.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Mar. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnie_Byanyima. Accessed 31 Mar. 2017.
“Winnie Byanyima, Biography.” Winnie Byanyima, Biography | Oxfam International. N.p., n.d. Web. Apr. 2017.
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