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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

Sepur Zarco case: The Guatemalan women who rose for justice in a war-torn nation

Friday, October 19, 2018

During the 36-year-long Guatemalan civil war, indigenous women were systematically raped and enslaved by the military in a small community near the Sepur Zarco outpost. What happened to them then was not unique, but what happened next, changed history. From 2011 – 2016, 15 women survivors fought for justice at the highest court of Guatemala. The groundbreaking case resulted in the conviction of two former military officers of crimes against humanity and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their community. The abuelas of Sepur Zarco, as the women are respectfully referred to, are now waiting to experience justice. Justice, for them, includes education for the children of their community, access to land, a health-care clinic and such measures that will end the abject poverty their community has endured across generations. Justice must be lived. More

We are equal, we are important, say nofotane women of Samoa

Thursday, October 11, 2018

In Samoa, the term ‘nofotane’ refers to indigenous women who, after marriage, live in their husband’s village with the husband’s family. Nofotane is an identity that defines their low social stature in the village. Traditionally, they were not allowed to dress as other women in the village and often denied any voice in decision-making within their homes and communities. The Fund for Gender Equality project implemented by Samoa Victims Support Group, improved nofotane women’s access to sustainable employment and increased their participation and leadership within village decision-making bodies. More

UN Women statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Monday, August 6, 2018

UN Women joins our sister UN agencies in today’s recognition of the vital importance of the world’s indigenous peoples. At a time when human mobility is on the increase, we recognize that together, they maintain 80 per cent of global biodiversity. All of humanity is indebted to their custodianship. 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

Take Five: “If you are invisible in everyday life, your needs will not be thought of, let alone addressed, in a crisis situation”

Monday, July 23, 2018

Matcha Phorn-in is the Executive Director of Sangsan Anakot Yaowachon, a civil society organization working with young people from marginalized communities, many of whom are indigenous, in disaster-prone Thai villages at the border with Myanmar. Phorn-in is from an ethnic minority and defines herself as a lesbian feminist human-rights defender, and her organization, supports women to become leaders and raise their communities' awareness regarding human rights, gender equality, and issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics. More

Saving for a rainy day

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Indigenous women of Guatemala’s Polochic valley are feeding their families, growing their businesses and saving more money than ever before, with the help of a joint UN programme that’s empowering rural women. 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 Sandra Moran: “Being the first openly lesbian Congresswoman in Guatemala has been a big responsibility”

Friday, April 27, 2018

Sandra Moran is Guatemala’s first openly lesbian member of the Congress. She organized the country’s first lesbian group in 1995, and was elected in 2015. She is well-known for her vocal support for women’s rights, indigenous women’s rights and LGBT rights in Guatemala. More

From where I stand: “ICT empowers me to grow without limits”

Monday, April 23, 2018

For Reem El-Dabbagh, from Gaza, Palestine, there’s no better sector for women than ICTs, with its limitless potential for growth. She is currently developing a web application which will provide comprehensive online services for survivors of gender-based violence. More

From where I stand: “What we need is free education for girls”

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Purity Soinato Oiyie is a Maasai girl from Kenya who escaped Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage. She spoke at the opening session of the 62nd UN Commission on the Status of Women, the UN’s largest gathering on gender equality and women’s rights. In her own words, she shares her story and her dream to start a school for girls in her community. More

Four indigenous women who are claiming their space

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Indigenous peoples live across 90 countries, represent 5,000 different communities and speak a majority of the worlds languages. They account for less than 6 per cent of the world’s population, but make up 15 per cent of the poorest worldwide. As more than 1,000 indigenous representatives come together in New York for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, this year focusing on the theme “Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and... More

From where I stand: “We want to be heard, to be recognized, this land is ours”

Monday, April 16, 2018

As the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opens today at the UN, focusing on the theme of “Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and resources”, here is what Alice Lesepen has to say. From the indigenous community of Rendille Community in Marsabit County, Kenya, Ms. Lesepen works with women at the grassroots level, with a focus on the empowerment of indigenous women. She spoke to UN Women recently on what are the top priorities of her community. More

Executive Director’s blog series: No impunity for violence against indigenous women

Monday, November 27, 2017

Part three of a 16-part blog series by UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on the occasion of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. More

Samoa’s Nofotane women assert their rights and independence

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

In Samoa, indigenous women marrying outside their home village are referred as “nofotane”. Nofotane women are often denied any voice in decision-making within their homes and communities. With the support of UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, the Samoa Victims Support Group raised awareness and advocated for nofotane women’s rights. As a result, a nofotane representative now sits in village council meetings, and men and women alike are changing their attitudes about gender equality. More

Editorial spotlight: International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

Friday, August 4, 2017

On 9 August, we commemorate International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to bring to bring attention to the rights and achievements of indigenous peoples. More

Joint statement of the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples' Issues on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples' Issues (IASG), consisting of over 40 United Nations system entities and other international organizations, uses the occasion of the World Day of Indigenous Peoples, to congratulate indigenous peoples and institutions all over the world on the tenth anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. More

From where I stand: “It is time that the world hears our voice”

Friday, August 4, 2017

Rayanne Cristine Maximo Franca is an indigenous youth activist from Brazil. Since leaving her home at 17, she has embarked on a relentless pursuit of rights and recognition for young indigenous women. More

Take five: “The dominant economic paradigms are at odds with the rights of indigenous peoples”

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Victoria Tauli Corpuz, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and former Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, recently talked with UN Women about engaging indigenous women in climate action during the 16th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (24 April – 5 May, 2017). The Forum marked the 10-year anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and hosted a side event on indigenous women. More

Remarks by Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women at the opening of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s promises to leave no one behind and reach the furthest first provide additional momentum and impetus for addressing the situation of indigenous women. Yet, the 20-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 2015 revealed that indigenous women across the world continue to face disproportionate levels of discrimination, exclusion and violence both as women and as members of indigenous communities. More

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