Swiss Newspaper Apologises To Okonjo-Iweala Over ‘Grandmother’ Headline

Nigeria’s global economist, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, officially resumed work on Monday as the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – an institution that moderates international trade amongst nations.

In a series of pictures tweeted by the WTO DG, she was captured being received by officials of the organization. Photojournalists were also seen taking different shots of her.

“Welcome to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala @NOIweala on her first day as WTO Director-General,” WTO tweeted.

Meanwhile, Okonjo-Iweala shared a letter from a Switzerland based newspaper (az Nordwestschweiz / Schweiz am Wochenende) which apologized for describing her as a “grandmother”.

The headline read:

“This grandmother will be the new chief of the World Trade Organization.”

Okonjo-Iweala appreciated those who signed the petition to call out the newspaper for what she called “racist and sexist remarks”.

On his part, the media platform’s Editor-in-Chief, Samuel Schumacher, said the editorial team felt sorry for the blunder.

“In our print edition of Tuesday 9 February 2021, we ran an article on the new head of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The article also appeared in our online edition and in two other newspapers, Luzerner Zeitung und St. Galler Tagblatt, and their online editions.

“In our editorial office, we gave the article about the new head of the World Trade Organization the headline “This grandmother will be the new chief of the World Trade Organization”.

This headline was inappropriate and unsuitable. The title sparked angry reactions from readers. We apologise for this editorial mistake,” Schumacher added.


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