Winnie Byanyima attended Mount Saint Mary"s College Namagunga in Mukono District.
She is the executive director of Oxfam International, to which she was appointed in May 2013. Before that, she served as the director of the Gender Team in the Bureau for Development Policy at the United Nations Development Programme (United Nations Development Programme) from 2006. Her parents are Boniface Byanyima, one-time national chairman of the Democratic Party in Uganda, and Gertrude Byanyima, a former schoolteacher who died in November 2008.
She went on to obtain a bachelor"s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Manchester, becoming the first female Ugandan to become an aeronautical engineer
She later received a master"s degree in mechanical engineering, specializing in energy conservation from Cranfield University. Following the completion of her training as an aeronautical engineer, Byanyima worked as a flight engineer for Uganda Airlines.
When Yoweri Museveni started the 1981 – 1986 Ugandan Bush War, Byanyima left her job and joined the armed rebellion. Museveni and Byanyima had been raised together at the Byanyima household as children, with the Byanyima family paying for all Museveni"s education and scholastic needs.
She then returned home and became an active participant in Ugandan politics.
She was then appointed director of the Directorate of Women, Gender and Development at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She served in that capacity until she was appointed as director of the Gender Team in the Bureau for Development Policy at United Nations Development Programme in November 2006. In January 2013, Byanyima was announced as the next executive director of Oxfam International, replacing Jeremy Hobbs.
Byanima began her five-year directorship at Oxfam on 1 May 2013.
In January 2015, Byanyima co-chaired the World Economic Forum in Davos. She used the forum to press for action to narrow the gap between rich and poor.
The charity’s research claims that the share of the world"s wealth owned by the richest 1 percent of the world population had increased to nearly 50 percent in 2014, whereas 99 percent shares the other half. Oxfam"s figures are strongly contested by several economists.
They are the parents of one son named Anselm.
She has five siblings: Edith, Anthony, Martha, Abraham, and Olivia.
Byanyima is married to political opposition figure Kizza Besigye, the former chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) political party in Uganda.
She served as a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1995 Ugandan Constitution. She then served two consecutive terms as a member of parliament, representing Mbarara Municipality from 1994 until 2004. Byanyima is a member of the FDC, although she has significantly reduced her participation in partisan Ugandan politics since she became a Ugandan diplomat in 2004.