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Swiss Newspaper Apologies To Ngozi-Iweala Over ‘Grandmother’ Remarks




The Director-general of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Monday accepted an apology from a Swiss newspaper that had described as a grandmother.

Okonjo-Iweala in a post on Twitter wrote, “It is important & timely that they’ve apologised.”

Naija News had earlier reported that she took over as the DG WTO on Monday after spending 25 years at the World Bank.

The Swiss newspaper while announcing her appointment last month, decided the most noteworthy thing mention about the new WTO chief was as a matriarch.


“This grandmother will become the boss of the WTO,” read the headline of the article published by the Aargauer Zeitung and several other papers on February 9.

The headline which did not sit down well with women heads of UN agencies and more than 120 ambassadors in Geneva saw them sign a petition calling out the headline as racist and sexist, the paper apologised.

“This headline was inappropriate and unsuitable… We apologise for this editorial mistake,” the paper’s foreign editor-in-chief Samuel Schumacher said in a statement on Friday.


In her tweet, Ngozi welcomed the apology and said she was “thankful to all my sisters, UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva who signed the petition on calling out the racist & sexist remarks in this newspaper.”

“We need to call out this behaviour when it happens,” she insisted, decrying “the stereotypes women face when they take on leadership positions.

She said the headline debacle reflected the problems raised in a book she co-authored with former Australian prime minister Julie Gillard called “Women and Leadership.”


is an Associate at Naija News. He is a news media enthusiast, he holds a degree in psychology and loves exploring and sharing about the enormous power that lies in the human mind. Email: [email protected], Instagram: adeniyidman