Women Changing India exhibition

The Women Changing India project is an initiative that commemorates the 150th anniversary French bank BNP Paribas and its operation in India.

As part of this celebration, the bank organised a travelling photographic exhibition highlighting the vital role women play in India today. Since 2010, the exhibition was hosted in five cities including Paris, London, Brussels and Tokyo.

The Embassy of France in South Africa is proud to be associated with this exhibition in South Africa. France is strongly committed to gender equality and women’s rights and took this opportunity to set up a panel discussion on the topic “How women can become the heart of? South Africa ?”


The exhibition was opened on 31 October 2017. H.E. Mr. Christophe Farnaud, Ambassador of France to South Africa, opened with a speech on the importance of women’s participation in all spheres of life, but also the need to join forces between men and women.

In South Africa, France has 15 agreements in place with civil society, including eight on fighting violence against women.

During the opening, poet Salma Rokkiah shared her inspiring story and how she fought for her independence and the right to follow her dreams.


The panel discussion was introduced by Veronique Briquet-Laugier, Head of Cooperation at the Embassy, and was moderated by Urvashi Butalia, historian and Indian feminist, who co-founded Kali for Women (add link), which is India’s first feminist publishing house.


Kadijah Patel, the editor of Mail & Guardian and co-founder of Daily Vox, started the award-winning The Daily Vox news platform three years ago as “the voice for young people” with the idea to create an alternative narrative in South Africa news stories. Since its inception, the platform receives 200 000 visitors per month on average with a further reach of 150 000 on social media.


Sibongile Mkhabela (or Bangi) is the Chief Executive Officer of Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital since 2011. In 2005, she presented a concept paper to the Management Trustees of Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund for the investigation into the establishment of a children’s hospital. Five years later shewas tasked with raising the capital funds for the design and construction of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital - a 200-bed, eight-theatre pediatric facility for the children of South Africa.

"Any children can be the next Mandela”
“The children have spoken. We can’t go back. I knew that when one day a children asked me to give a donation to our children hospital.”

Kayan Leung is an attorney of the High Court with Lawyers For Human Rights and assists vulnerable and indigent groups in accessing their rights, using law as a positive instrument for change and to deepen the democratization of South African society.

“When we look at the exhibition we see intersectionality between the different fields. The question we need to ask ourselves is how are we, citizen of South Africa, contributing to take responsibility?”
“As women we have a unique gift to give birth. We need to take our place and start giving birth to that change that we want to see.”


Dr Kirti Menon is the great-granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. Her work and writing regarding the higher education system in South Africa has achieved success in the policy environment in higher education sector in South Africa. She is currently the Director of Academic Planning at the University of Johannesburg and a Research Associate in the Faculty of Education.

“Climbing that wall has not been easy.”
Now “it’s about placing value in knowledge.”
“We are all here to make a difference in the world.”

The exhibition is open to the public at Gallery 011 in Sandton until 11 November 2017.

publie le 02/11/2017

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