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In the words of Joanna Oala: “It’s better to speak up and let your voice be heard”

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Meet Joanna Oala, 25, from Port Moresby, who has become a champion to end violence against women and girls. She is one of the volunteers of a UN Women-led campaign, SANAP WANTAIM, which has brought together men, women and youth from all walks of life to make Port Moresby safer for women and girls. More

In the words of Bettie Johnson Mbayo: “Men need to be involved in reporting on this issue because they dominate the newsrooms”

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Award-winning journalist Bettie Johnson Mbayo from Frontpage Africa took a 16-hour motorbike ride last year through Southeastern Liberia to find a 13-year-old girl who was raped by a law-maker. Despite receiving threats, Mbayo pursued the story relentlessly, following leads on social media and interviewing family members, neighbours, school officials and the police. Her reporting resulted in the arrest of the alleged perpetrator. More

In the words of Aiman Umarova: “If violence is condemned to silence, that does not mean that it’s not in our lives”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Aiman Umarova is an acclaimed Kazakhstani lawyer and human rights activist who specializes in sexual offences against women and children, and crimes related to violent extremism and torture. She has dedicated her life to fight violence against women, despite facing threats of violence herself. More

In the words of Aissa Doumara Ngatansou: “My own experience of discrimination inspired me to become the activist that I am today”

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Aissa Doumara Ngatansou is a 46-year-old mother of three children from the Far North Region of Cameroon. She co-founded a branch of the Association for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (ALVF) in the city of Maroua in 1996. ALVF works with survivors, and advocates with decision-makers to end early and forced marriages, and other forms of gender-based violence. More

In the words of Elisa Zepeda Lagunas: “It is essential for me to occupy these spaces and to open them up for others”

Monday, November 12, 2018

Elisa Zepeda Lagunas, 34, is an aquaculture engineer, Mazatec indigenous leader and women’s rights defender who has suffered intense violence due to her political activism. More

In the words of Emmanuella Zandi Mudherwa: “I want every survivor to be called victorious”

Monday, November 12, 2018

Emmanuella Zandi Mudherwa, 21, founded her own non-profit organization, “Ma Voisine” (My neighbour) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, which promotes girls’ empowerment by girls. Today it has 12,000 members around the country. She collaborates with UN Women on initiatives to raise awareness about gender-based violence. More

In the words of Hajer Sharief: “Peacebuilding is not only about stopping violence, it is also about the prevention of violence”

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Hajer Sharief is the co-founder of the organization “Together We Build it”, which aims to promote a peaceful democratic transition in Libya, inclusive of women and youth. More

In the words of Justice Anisa Rasooli: “Not all women in Afghanistan are women in blue burqas begging…we can be the best engineers, doctors, judges, teachers”

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Justice Anisa Rasooli was recently appointed as the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court of Afghanistan. She has been a powerful advocate for bringing more women into judicial positions, including as a leader of the Afghan Women Judges Association. More

In the words of Halima Askari: “Our victory is our unity”

Friday, November 2, 2018

Halima Askari became the first woman head of the Provincial Council in Afghanistan’s conservative Wardak province in 2017. She is part of a new generation of women leaders who, little by little, are pushing for the transformation of governance. She ran for national Parliament this year and is awaiting the results. Regardless of the election results, Askari is determined to continue serving her community and advocating for girls’ and women’s education. Having attended UN Women-supported leadership and management training, in a recent interview she talked about what it means to be a woman in politics in Afghanistan. UN Women’s political participation programme in Afghanistan was made possible by funding from the governments of Iceland, Sweden and Norway. More

In the words of Tanya Gilly Khailany: “When it comes to women’s rights, there’s no room for diplomacy”

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tanya Gilly Khailany, from Iraqi-Kurdistan, is a former member of the Iraqi Parliament (2006 – 2010) and a co-founder of the SEED Foundation, an organization that works with survivors of violence and trafficking in Iraq. An outspoken women’s rights activist, Ms. Gilly Khailany was one of the key parliamentarians who legislated the 25 per cent quota for women in Iraqi provincial councils. More

In the words of Faidah Suleiman: “Through my job I’m making changes in my family and in the society”

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Faidah Suleiman is the Superintendent of Police, Gender and Children Desk in Tanzania. With 20 years of police experience, she has been part of the Gender Desk since it was established in 2009. In 2014, UN Women partnered with the Gender and Children Desks to improve the quality of services provided. More

In the words of Taffan Ako: “I believe you have to be in the system in order to change the system”

Friday, October 5, 2018

A refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan, Taffan Ako fled to Sweden in 1997 with her family. Today she is the Coordinator of One Young World Ambassadors for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and founder of EmpowHERment, an organization that assists women and young girls who have been former ISIS sex slaves or victims of human trafficking. Her foundation finances integration projects for children and women in Europe and in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ako was one of the Young Leaders attending the EU Development Days in June 2018 and spoke to UN Women about her experience growing up as a refugee in Sweden and her activism today. More

In the words of Marta Vieira da Silva: “Believe in yourself and trust yourself”

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Brazilian soccer player Marta Vieira da Silva is UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for women and girls in sport. Marta, as she is popularly known, wants to inspire people to challenge stereotypes, overcome barriers and follow their dreams and ambitions, including in the area of sport. An icon and role model for many, Marta is widely regarded as the best female soccer player of all time and a top scorer of the FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament. During her recent visit to UN Women headquarters in New York, Marta spoke about her personal journey, motivation and what she hopes to do as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. More

In the words of Nabila Musleh: “Women and men must benefit equally from government funding, instead of one benefitting at the cost of the other”

Monday, September 10, 2018

Nabila Musleh, Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, has worked to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment and human rights in Afghanistan for more than 10 years. From 11-16 August, Ms. Musleh joined 32 other senior government officials for a visit to Indonesia to learn about their gender-responsive budgeting experience. More

In the words of Spartak Kosta: “The media should raise awareness about the issue of trafficking of women and girls”

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Spartak Kosta is a third-year journalism student at the University of History and Philology in Tirana, Albania. He was among the first group of students to take a new university course on the reporting of trafficking of women and girls. The educational course was developed at the recommendation of a UN Women monitoring report. The study finds that journalists often write shallow trafficking stories that lack deep analysis and use unethical language with regards to victims. More

In the words of Anny T. Modi: “Young women want to be considered as actors and agents of change”

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Anny Tengandide Modi is a 36-year-old single mother living in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In July 2017, she joined the African Women Leaders Network, launched by UN Women, the African Union Commission and the Permanent Mission of Germany. Modi serves as the Youth Advocate within the Network. She is also the Executive Director of Afia Mama (Women’s Health), an organization committed to the reproductive health and access to justice for women, as well leadership development, economic empowerment, legal assistance and social development for young women. More

In the words of: “People voted for me because they wanted to see change”

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Irlanda Pop is the Mayor of Lanquín, a municipality in the Alta Verapaz department of Guatemala. She is the only indigenous Mayor and one of ten women Mayors in the country. Elected in 2015 for a term of four years, Pop has survived serious political attacks and continues to fight discrimination on account of her gender and indigenous identity. UN Women supported Pop to participate in the IV Ibero-American Summit of Local Gender Agendas that took place in Cuenca, Ecuador, in May 2018. There, she led an exchange between women leaders of different indigenous communities of the region about political participation of indigenous women and how to address violence against women in politics. UN Women supports the leadership of women in politics and peacebuilding in Guatemala through several initiatives, including through Women’s Political Empowerment and Leadership flagship programme. More

In the words of Nidhi Goyal: “These spaces belong to everyone”

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Nidhi Goyal, 32, is a disabled feminist from India who works on disability rights and gender equality. After losing her sight as a teenager, Goyal committed herself to changing the lives of persons with disabilities, and particularly women and girls with disabilities. As a researcher, writer, trainer, stand-up comedian and advocate, she works to raise awareness on the intersection of the disability rights movement, and the women’s movement. More

In the words of Ruth Kihiu: Empowering Maasai women in northern Tanzania

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ruth Kihiu is a Programme Manager at The Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC), which works to socio-economically empower marginalized pastoralist Maasai women in Ngorongoro, Monduli, and Longido districts in Tanzania, through livelihood and income-generating activities. PWC, supported by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, also aims to educate women and girls about their rights and equip them with leadership skills. More

In the words of Major Cleo Bigwood: “Many of us are working tirelessly to make things better for you.”

Friday, May 25, 2018

Major Cleo Bigwood is the Force Gender and Child Protection Officer at the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). She participated at a UN Women training on ‘Mainstreaming gender in UN Peacekeeping to End Conflict Related Sexual Violence’, which took place in New Delhi in February 2018, funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The course trained 41 military and police officers and humanitarian actors from ten Member States on strategic, operational and tactical approaches to end conflict-related sexual violence. More

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