After the appointment of Senegalese-born Sibeth Ndiaye (37) as press secretary or media advisor in the French presidency, another Black woman has been named minister in the new government of President Emmanuel Macron.
France’s new cabinet, which was unveiled on Wednesday, is made up of 11 women and 11 men, including Laura Flessel, as sports minister. Aged 45, she is a double Olympic fencing champion widely known in French sport.
Flessel, who was born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, is currently number one on the all-time list of French female Olympic winners, with five medals to her credit.
Flessel, who is married and has a daughter, was France’s flag-bearer at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London. It was her fifth and last Olympics.
With an eye to the Paris bid to hold the 2024 Olympics, analysts say Macron has deliberately chosen one of its chief supporters.
Meanwhile, Dakar-born Ndiaye, whose official title is communications director at the Elysée Palace, is expected to play an important role in the Macron presidency. The African woman, who only became a naturalised French citizen last year, has been described by the French media as one of the key figures who orchestrated the meteoric rise of Macron’s En Marche movement.
When questioned over her status as a role model for young African women who are considering a career in politics, in a recent interview with the weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique, she was reluctant to accept the title.
“I do not see myself as a role model at all. My professional career was built upon encounters with people who trusted me …this leads me to believe that my success is because of my contact with the right people, people who do not see skin colour, social origin or education background.”
Ndiaye graduated in health economics at Paris-Sorbonne University.