"I’m still the same person that was my mother's disciple. Women have to have their own resources. That’s what my mother was saying when she said, 'Your husband is your degree'. You need your own resources. I also need to ask for help. I cannot be superwoman."
Hendrica Okondo, 62, credits much of her wisdom and courage to women: her mother and grandmother, Nobel-prize-winner Wangari Maathai, and countless women leaders who she worked with over 40 years supporting women’s and girls’ rights worldwide. Raised in Kenya, she’s lived and worked in more countries than most people will visit in a lifetime (from Sudan to Somalia and the UK to Switzerland), had more careers than most people dream of (from scuba diver to gender advisor) and is a storyteller extraordinaire. She recently returned home after ‘retiring’ from an international career in the United Nations and the World YWCA. She now follows her passion to promote the sexual and reproductive rights of young girls throughout Africa, blending her profound and life-long Catholic faith with an irrepressible spirit. She likes to remind religious leaders that the first person to see the risen Christ was Mary Magdalene, who is portrayed as a sex worker by many writers, so -- if she was the first person to see the risen Christ -- then Christianity was started by a sex worker. Shower yourself with her sage advice and contagious laughter as soon as you can!