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In the words of Johanna Tantria T. Wardham: “Gender inequality starts from the household”

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Passionate and fiery Johanna Tantria T. Wardham, is known universally as Jo. A popular figure in the urban slums of Jakarta, she can often be spotted in Prumpung and other neighborhoods, on the outskirts of Indonesia’s bustling capital city. Her mission in life is to build a culture of gender equality, from the ground up. She leads community discussions, trainings on preventing violence against women and girls, and conducts gender audits, but in the midst of all this, what she has become is a GO-TO person for the community. Jo is a staff member of the NGO Kalyanamitra, UN Women’s partner for the Safe City pilot programme in Indonesia. The Prumpung area was selected along with two other sites for the initiative, due to high prevalence of violence, including gender-based violence in the neighbourhoods. According to the National Women’s Commission, there were over 250,000 cases of violence against women and girls reported in Indonesia in 2016. Today Jo inspires not only the people she works with, but also many young students, to give back to the community. More

In the words of Nongnee Kondii: “I was told that being a lesbian woman is a sin”

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Discriminatory stereotypes, cultural norms and attitudes that normalize and trivialize violence against women and girls are prevalent in every part of the world. Nongnee Kondii*, 25, from Yala, a southern border province of Thailand, never felt safe expressing her sexual orientation at home or in her community. When she experienced a traumatic sexual assault, she kept silent at first. In May 2016, after participating in a gender retreat for young people organized by Rainbow Sky Association(RSAT), an organization that works to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual women, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI) in Thailand, supported by the UN Trust Fund to end Violence against Women (managed by UN Women), Kondii decided to speak out and pursue the path of justice. With funding from the UN Trust Fund, RSAT continues to organize workshops with LGBTI individuals in Thailand to support them to combat stigma based on sexual orientation and gender identity. More

In the words of Pari Ibrahim: “Escaping ISIS is only the beginning, we cannot leave them alone in that journey.”

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pari Ibrahim is the founder and Executive Director of the Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF), an independent, non-profit organization that provides services for women survivors of the violence ISIS attacks on the Yezidi community. More

In the words of Jana Mustafa: “Disability should not stop anyone from starting over”

Friday, November 10, 2017

Jana Mustafa is a former employee of a local NGO and a survivor of violence. One day she hopes to open a small business to support her six-year-old son Jamal and prove that her disability is not an issue. More

In the words of Varanisese Maisamoa: “We want to empower our market vendors to be climate resilient”

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

In February 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston devastated Fiji, showing the heightened vulnerability of people living in the Pacific Islands, where climate change has led to a series of increasingly severe cyclones in the recent years. With farms, markets, including the Rakiraki Market and its accommodation centre for rural women destroyed, livelihoods of market vendors such as Varanisese Maisamoa were compromised. But today, through UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) project, Maisamoa, aged 39 years, has not only got back on her feet, she has also become a strong leader in her community. As leader of Rakiraki’s women’s group, and now, as the President of the Rakiraki Market Vendors Association, her insights were critical in helping UN Women adapt its existing M4C project to provide humanitarian support to market vendors impacted by the cyclone. Rakiraki Market’s reconstruction is currently underway, featuring Category-5 cyclone resilient infrastructure, a rain water harvesting system, flood resistant drainage, and a gender-responsive design. The Markets for Change project is principally funded by the Australian Government and implemented in partnership with UNDP. More

In the words of Sanja Pejović: “Applying a gender perspective contributes to the success of military operations”

Monday, October 30, 2017

Captain Sanja Pejović is the highest-ranking woman officer in the Armed Forces of Montenegro (AF MNE). She is deputy chief of the Sub-centre for Peacekeeping Operations, and a gender equality coordinator for AF MNE. Captain Pejović was the first woman officer to serve in AF MNE. She serves as a regional gender trainer, training military personnel from all over the world, and has actively participated in regional and international projects on the inclusion of gender perspectives in security sector reform. More

In the words of Hikmah Bafagih: “Our vision is to create an inclusive Islam, having people oppose me is very common”

Monday, October 23, 2017

Meet Hikmah Bafagih, from Malang in East Java, Indonesia. University professor, community organizer, peace-builder, Counsellor, mother, wife—Bafagih has many roles. She is also a religious leader, steering the women’s wing of the biggest Muslim organization in Indonesia. Her vision is to create an inclusive Islam, and she is used to opposition. Steadfast in her belief that women are solidarity makers, she works to empower women in her community, supports LGBT people and people living with HIV. More

In the words of Sonja Lokar: “If there are so few women in politics, who will put on the agenda the priorities that affect women’s lives?”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sonja Lokar is the Executive Director of the Central and Eastern European Network for Gender Issues and has worked with women activists across all social, ethnic, religious and political divides in 21 countries. She has been a political activist from her youth and is a specialist in political party development, social welfare state issues, and gender issues. She is a feminist and an advocate for women’s human rights in Slovenia and internationally. Lokar recently spoke at the Regional Conference "Parliamentarians for gender equality and women's empowerment," organized by UN Women, UNDP, and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) with the support of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova and in partnership with the Government of Sweden. More

In the words of Ainuru Altybaeva: “Bride kidnapping is not a tradition, it’s a crime”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Ainuru Altybaeva serves as a Member of Parliament in Kyrgyzstan, and has been an activist for women’s empowerment for over 10 years. She was the initiator of a law on toughening penalties for bride kidnapping, and a vocal participant of the national UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls women’s movement, coordinated and led by UN Women in Kyrgyzstan. UN Women partnered with Altybaeva on several advocacy initiatives in Kyrgyzstan, including an advocacy campaign in the parliament on adopting the new law on domestic violence. She is the former chair and initiator of the Kyrgyz Parliament’s Women’s Caucus. More

In the words of Sunita Kashyap: “We believe in trade, not aid”

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sunita Kashyap, is the secretary and founder of Mahila Umang Producers Company (Umang), an organization run by rural women in the districts of Almora and Ranikhet, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Locally owned by women farmers and producers, Umang sells knitwear and organic jams and jellies. More

In the words of Shobhna Verma: “Once I came into the market, there was no turning back”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

For the past 35 years, Shobhna Verma has made her living selling produce at Suva Market in Fiji’s capital. Today, Shobhna is the Legal Advisor with the Suva United Market Vendors Association in Fiji and has attended a series of trainings starting in 2005, on financial literacy, organizing, leadership, first aid, and disaster risk resilience, as part of UN Women’s Markets for Change project (M4C). More

In the words of Magda Alberto: “The idea of a more just, democratic society…comes hand in hand with equality for women”

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Magda Alberto is a young feminist and member of UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group in Colombia. She advocates for the recognition of women in the Colombian peace-process and was part of the Women and Peace Summit in 2013 and 2016, supported by the UN system and led by UN Women, which led to the formal recognition by the parties of women’s role in the Colombian peace process. More

In the words of Elena Kochoska: "Women bear a double burden because of their gender and disability”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Elena Kochoska is a vocal advocate for persons with disabilities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and works at the local organization, Polio Plus, Movement Against Disability. She participated in training and mentoring sessions on gender-responsive budgeting (GRB)—analyzing a budget to ensure women’s needs are met—organized by UN Women’s regional programme on GRB, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Austrian Development Agency. Thereafter, she prepared a report that did a cost-benefit analysis showing the benefits of including children with disabilities in mainstream education. More

In the words of Itumeleng Komanyane: If male policymakers don’t understand gender, how can they pass progressive policies to protect women?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Itumeleng Komanyane is the International Programme Manager at Sonke Gender Justice in South Africa, which advances gender equality and addresses HIV and AIDS across eighteen countries in Africa. At Sonke, she coordinated a multi-country project funded by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN system) from 2011-2014, which focused on increasing support among men and boys to end gender based violence in Kenya, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Recently, Komanyane attended the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. More

In the words of Patricia Munabi: “Citizens must engage with the budget and hold leaders accountable”

Monday, May 1, 2017

Patricia Munabi is the Executive Director of Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), a women’s rights organization in Uganda. From 2010 - 2012, FOWODE was supported by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality to implement gender-responsive budgeting at a local and national level in Uganda. This involved training women in 16 local communities to form Village Budget Clubs to ensure that women are actively involved in budget allocation and decisions at the local level. Some 200 legislators and government officials were also trained to implement gender-responsive programmes at the national level. More

In the words of Ani Jilozian: “Ultimately, this violence stems from patriarchy”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ani Jilozian, 31, is the Research and Data Specialist at the Women’s Support Center in Armenia, which has been supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), for the period of 2015-2017. More

In the words of Tarcila Rivera Zea: “My parents, illiterate as they were, pushed to learn more”

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tarcila Rivera Zea is a Quechuan activist from Ayacucho, Peru, and Founder of the organization Chirapaq, and leader in the movement of indigenous women of the Americas. From 2013 – 2015, UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality has supported Chirapaq’s work on strengthening rural indigenous women’s economic empowerment. Ms. Rivera Zea was recently elected to the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is a journalist by profession and for more than 30 years has worked as an activist for indigenous peoples' rights, particularly those related to women, children and indigenous youth in national and international areas. More

In the words of Aisulu Jenalieva: “Women can have more freedom and men can share domestic work”

Monday, March 20, 2017

Aisulu Jenalieva, 48, has gone from being an abandoned wife of a migrant worker without the means to support her family, to leading a self-help group and collective that runs Jirgatol district’s first dairy production facility in north-east Tajikistan. Her entire perspective has changed since participating in the project. “Earlier, my only wish for my daughter was that she got a good husband, a good household and a piece of land. Now, I want a good education for her,” says Jenalieva. More

In the words of Maximina Salazar: "My friend, you have rights, don’t let others trample on them."

Friday, March 3, 2017

Maximina Salazar was born in 1952 in Pedro Carbo, a town on the outskirts of the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. She has worked as a domestic worker since the age of 11 and started organizing domestic workers in her community after receiving trainings through the María Guare Foundation, a UN Women partner. More

In the words of Luiza Karimova: “We were sex slaves”

Monday, February 20, 2017

Originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Luiza Karimova left her son with her family and travelled to Osh, Kyrgyzstan to find work. In Kyrgyzstan, she was sold into sex slavery and trafficked into Dubai. After 18 months, she was arrested and sent to jail. Today, Karimova works with Podruga, an organization based in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, which is supported by UN Women. Podruga works to end violence against women and assists women subjected to sex and drug trafficking. More

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