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In Pakistan, as in many parts of the world, women and girls play a critical role in preventing the spread of extremist ideologies and keeping peace within their communities. Increasingly, they are also at risk of being recruited by extremist groups.
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Throughout the pandemic, youth have persisted in their activism, calling for sustainable change, equality, justice, and dignity for all. They have been invaluable support for their communities as health systems and social infrastructure are still overwhelmed in many parts of the world. From insisting on more inclusive societies to pushing for sexual and reproductive health, rights, and education, here are four stories of young people persisting in the pandemic.
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As 2021 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at some of the major moments for gender equality and women’s rights from the past 12 months. From women at the forefront of the ongoing fight against COVID-19, to new laws to support survivors of gender-based violence, from women in the highest political offices to eliminating gender stereotypes in advertising, join us in celebrating some of the small and big strides for gender equality in 2021.
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As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through Ethiopia, the country’s already high unemployment rate increased and travel restrictions obstructed safe migration pathways for thousands of Ethiopians. In a desperate attempt to provide for their families, many turned to people smugglers who promised jobs. For Amen Kifle, her journey ended with three months of imprisonment in a foreign country before she was deported back home.
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To address the high rates of violence against women and girls in the Cox's Bazar refugge camps and the complexities of policing in a humanitarian situation, UN Women has supported the Bangladesh Police to strengthen gender-responsive policing, improving the availability, accessibility, and quality of police services,.
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Aissa Doumara Ngatansou was 15 years old when she was forced into marriage. Today, at 49, Ngatansou is working to change the narrative for women and girls in the Lake Chad Basin – an area encompassing Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
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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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In Liberia and Nigeria, traditional leaders are the key to shifting social norms and driving the critical change needed to end violence against women and girls.
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When Haiti was struck by an earthquake in 2021, the country was already reeling from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and political instability. The disaster escalated the risk of violence that Haitian women and girls faced, particularly those living with disabilities.
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Every year, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign (25 November – 10 December) inspires people around the world to learn, reflect, and take action to end violence against women. This year, the global campaign marks its 30th year.
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From the early days of the COVID lockdowns, women’s organizations noted a significant increase in reported cases of violence against women. Now, a new report from UN Women confirms the severity of the problem. This explainer breaks down the report’s key findings and offers policy recommendations from UN Women experts.
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Migration can be a life-changing experience, but migrant workers are especially vulnerable to human trafficking and gender-based violence. San May Khine, a social worker in Thailand who was once a migrant worker herself, is supporting other women migrant workers to move past experiences of violence and build a stable and bright future in a COVID-19 world.
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A UN Women initiative, as part of a joint UN project funded by the Government of Sweden, is training teachers across the country in self-defense and communications skills to prevent and mitigate the risk of violence in schools.
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Morocco has restructured the national police force to better support women survivors, like Layla Bennani, and to prevent violence against women.
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To raise awareness of the need to increase women’s participation as candidates in the upcoming presidential elections and reject the various forms of violence they face, UN Women, along with the Colombian Government, international partners, media and civil society, are promoting the campaign, “More women, more democracy: towards parity”.
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In the Republic of Moldova, sexual harassment and violence is a taboo topic. Victims of sexual harassment fear being blamed or stigmatized, and rarely report the incidents. Milena Rusu continued a relationship with her abuser for six months before breaking up. At the time, she didn’t recognize the incident as a sexual assault since she was in a romantic relationship with her abuser. Instead, she tried to forget the incident.
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Through the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, UN Women and the Inter-American Shelter Network developed a guide for shelters and safe houses to address the specific needs of women survivors, like Diana Salas, in the region, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Human rights defenders in Kenya are often the first responders to human rights violations, including gender-based violence. Since 2019, UN Women and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been supporting legal training and capacity-building of grass-roots organizations so that they can better assist survivors.
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Romela Islam escaped her abusive marriage when her brother took her to Tarango (meaning, waves), a women’s shelter in Bangladesh in December 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the country and violence against women and girls was on the rise.
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On 21 October 2021, UN Women and partners facilitated the participation of a delegation of Afghan women to speak at a series of events and high-level meetings at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. The delegation included parliamentarians, women’s rights advocates, journalists, civil society leaders, and researchers.