Executive Director of global organization Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima has been named among the top 100 most reputable individuals on earth in 2017.
In a list released earlier this week by Reputation Poll International, search a global performance-reputation management consulting agency, Byanyima joins some of the most popular and accomplished figures who were ranked based on achievement.
The list features world leaders, business and sports personalities, celebrated entertainers, politicians, activists, scientists, innovators among others.
Some of the notable people on the inaugural ranking include Pope Francis, Queen Elizabeth of England, former U.S President Barack Obama, TV star Oprah Winfrey, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, soccer legend Pelé and singer Jenifer Lopez.
Also listed is renowned U.S Evangelist Billy Graham, the oldest of them, former UN Secretary General Koffi Anan, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Jamaican splinter Usain Bolt.
Winnie Byanyima, 58, joins 29 other women on the list among them Graça Machel, former U.S Firstlady Michelle Obama, TV host Ellen De Genres, writer Chimamanda Ngozi, singer Beyonce, actress Angelina Jolie, CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Byanyima who is wife to Uganda’s opposition leader Kizza Besigye studied aeronautical engineering but also served as diplomat and later on Member of Parliament in Uganda.
Born to a staunch politician, the late, Mzee Boniface Byanyima, Winnie took interest in politics and would later join the armed struggle to topple the Milton Obote regime.
As a member of the Constituent Assembly in the late 1990s, the outspoken and principled rights activist participated in the drafting of the 1995 Ugandan Constitution.
She then became MP for Mbarara Municipality for ten years until 2004 when she voluntarily stepped down.
It was however her service as Director of the Directorate of Women, Gender and Development at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that launched Byanyima onto the global scene.
She then was appointed to UNDP in 2006 before becoming the Executive Director of Oxfam International in 2013, a position she still holds.
Byanyima becomes the first woman and first African to be at the helm of Oxfam in its 73 years of existence which is no ordinary achievement.
Last year, she was ranked sixth world’s most influential woman by French Magazine Business O Féminine, which profiles and rates successful women.
The recognition was attributed to her exceptional human rights advocacy, social activism and championing equality.
In response to the recognition, Byanyima told the same magazine; “I want to succeed in this role so that it confirms to people that women can lead, can make a difference. When given an opportunity, they can being something special and unique.”
“I’m conscious of being a pioneer and wanting to give the job my best so that the door remains wide open for more women, for more parts of the world to lead,” she added.
From being the first woman to become an aeronautical engineer in Uganda to weaving a similar record as the first female to lead an organization like Oxfam, Byanyima represents the idea that women possess as much capabilities to change the world.