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In the Pacific region, as in other parts of the world, women are spearheading climate adaptation and mitigation strategies — something Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls, a second-generation Pacific Fijian feminist has championed throughout her three-decade journey in the women’s rights movement.
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On the summit of Bolivia’s Huayna Potosí mountain, a flag proudly flies to promote the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign, a global effort to end all violence against women and girls. This year, the four women who placed it there are taking on Sajama, the highest mountain in the country to continue bringing the message to end all forms of violence against women to new heights.
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Violence against women creates significant barriers for women aspiring for political office, says UN Women. It’s critical to reform and fully implement laws to prevent and stop violence against women in politics.
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After the November 2020 national elections, women make up 49 per cent of the Legislative Assembly of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, cementing its position as a forerunner on gender parity in politics. The participation of indigenous women and stopping violence against women in political and public life are among the top priorities for the country.
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Yobanca Fernandez Flores has been a women’s rights activist for more than 35 years. She is also the National President of the Community Promoters for the Prevention of Gender-based Violence in Bolivia. Together with hundreds of women leaders in the country, the Community Promoters have formed a network of advocates who provide direct support to victims and survivors of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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As Latin America enters a critical phase of the COVID-19 emergency, recently surpassing 5 million cases and 200,000 deaths , women domestic workers are raising alarm about the lack of economic relief, healthcare and other social protection, and organizing in solidarity to help other workers.
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Alejandra Mónica Quijua Tintaya is a 34-year-old Bolivian national who packaged fruits in Santiago de Chile. She, along with other migrant workers, lost her job as cases of COVID-19 surged in Latin America. Her journey back to Bolivia illustrates the increased hardships that migrant workers are facing during the global pandemic, but also the importance women-led groups to protect their rights.
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Gender-based violence crisis centres from six countries in the Pacific have faced not only the COVID-19 crisis, but also in some countries, the dual impact of a tropical cyclone. UN Women’s Ending Violence Against Women and Girls programme, through the Pacific Partnership, works in close collaboration with government, civil society organisations, communities and other partners to promote gender equality, prevent violence against women and girls, and increase access to quality response services for survivors, especially during emergencies.
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Natalia Klinsky Amelunge is a 28-year-old doctor working on the front lines of COVID-19 at the National Health Fund in Bolivia and the Anita Leigue Municipal Health Center. She spoke with UN Women about the challenges that women face in the front-line response and what we can learn from them. In Bolivia, UN Women has launched public communication campaigns to make women’s role visible and to prevent the shadow pandemic of violence against women. In coordination with the government, UN Women is also distributing food, clothing and other necessities in migrant camps bordering Chile.
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Ryancia Henry is originally from Antigua and Barbuda, she moved four months ago to Montecito, California, to take up the position of Director of Housekeeping, managing a team of 60 people, at a hotel that has now closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. With international travel disrupted, and movement restrictions within the United States of America, Ryancia is among millions of workers in the hospitality industry considering what the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on her, her staff, her family and her friends.
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While parts of the Amazon are in flames across Brazil and eastern Bolivia—from fires largely caused by burning to clear arable land—communities in northern Bolivia are protecting their forests through a series of economic empowerment projects.
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Neli Nabogi, 34, grew up in a family where girls were expected to listen and not speak. As a result, she lacked confidence as a young woman. That, and so much more, has changed since she was selected to become a rugby coach for the new Get Into Rugby PLUS programme. The programme is empowering coaches and adolescent players, who learn rugby and life skills.
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A new sport programme in Fiji is breaking gender stereotypes among students and coaches alike, as both male and female school teachers get trained as coaches.
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During a four-country visit in the Caribbean region from 18 to 23 May, the UN Women Executive Board discussed measures to improve court processes to assist survivors of gender-based violence; observed initiatives at work to identify and mitigate the gendered risks of natural disasters; and emphasized their support towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
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Ruth Spencer, GEF/SGP National Coordinator from Antigua connects with people everywhere she goes—in the market, in church, at the parking lot or in the halls of the United Nations. She builds networks and capacity of local community groups through education, training, resource mobilization and partnership-building, especially for climate action. Recently, she has set up a network of local groups and individuals in the island of Antigua and Barbados to promote sustainable waste management. As a participant in a workshop on gender-responsive global biodiversity framework, she spoke to UN Women about women’s conservation efforts.
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Most women and girls are told to stay inside after dark for their safety, it’s one of the pitfalls of living in the sprawling city of El Alto. Once a desolate bedroom community just 15 km away from the Bolivian capital, La Paz, El Alto is the country’s second-biggest and fastest growing city.
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From marketplaces in the Pacific to parks in eastern Europe, women are rising up and demanding safety, respect and inclusion in public spaces, and coming together to make it happen. Through community efforts, UN Women is working around the world to help women claim their space.
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Women account for 53.1 per cent of Parliamentarians in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the third-highest percentage globally. Adriana Salvatierra, a role model to many, became the fourth woman to be elected as the President of the Senate Chambers of Bolivia this year. The 29-year-old is also the youngest to hold this position in the country, and in Latin America.
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Captain Anaseini Navua Vuniwaqa of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, participated in the ninth edition of the Female Military Officers’ Course in April 2018. The course aims to bridge the gender gap in UN peacekeeping. Women currently represent only 4 per cent of the more than 80,000 UN Peacekeepers, despite their key role in preventing sexual violence during and after conflict, and their unique abilities to engage with the communities they serve, especially women and girls. Captain Vuniwaqa spoke to UN Women about women’s role in preventing sexual violence during and after conflict, and their unique abilities to engage with the communities they serve.
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Hosted by the UN Women National Committee Australia, the annual meeting brought together staff from UN Women Headquarters, UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office and National Committees around the world in Fiji for a week.