Although she was first introduced to the public as the daughter of the former president of Angola, Isabel dos Santos is today revered and known for more than her last name. Isabel dos Santos would become her own woman as she began to invest and participate in the Sonangol oil company as a chairwoman. Due to her incredible work ethic and refusal to lessen her drive because she’s an African Woman, the businesswoman would go on to be one of the wealthiest women in Africa. Today, Isabel dos Santos works with various philanthropic organizations across the globe. Much of her work focuses on creating a more independent and intelligent generation of young women. We recently sat down with Isabel to speak a little more in depth about her career and life with these organizations.
What type of obstacles have you faced in male-driven Africa?
Isabel has faced sexism and discrimination and she states that this situation against women is a rampant issue all over the continent. She adds that even within her own high position, she is often second-guessed by the men around her. Furthermore, Dos Santos explains that even within her social circle, women are frequently asked what their husbands do and assume that you’re a stay at home wife.
What type of opportunities is present in Africa for a woman to succeed?
Isabel explains that although Africa is still very much male-drive, there is no doubt that women can still succeed. She aids in this process by asking young girls to think about what talents they have (Wikipedia). Adding this along with the already existing businesses in Africa, such as tourism and manufacturing, is a great place to start.
What men have actually supported you, and what advice do you have for African parents?
She has an intense multimedia speeches talking about this important issue. Isabel dos Santos speaks about her father, often treating her exactly like her brothers. She adds that she never recalls a time when she was told to speak, walk, or think differently than the men do. She advises African parents who want to raise a strong girl to focus on the meaning of hard work, perseverance, and ambition instead of who she should marry.
More about Isabel´s charity projects at https://www.linkedin.com/in/isabel-dos-santos-a67a65100/?originalSubdomain=za