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

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples we consider not only the enormous challenges faced by indigenous women, many of which are now further compounded by the pandemic, but also the valuable accomplishments, leadership and resilience that they bring to the recovery.

In Guatemala, investing in indigenous women’s economic empowerment is key to building back better after COVID-19

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Since March 2020, Guatemala has recorded more than 600 COVID-19 deaths and over 11,000 infections. Amidst this crisis, indigenous women have continued to use their voices, knowledge and capacities to assist their communities and adapt their livelihoods. To build back better, their needs and concerns, but also their leadership must be placed at the centre of COVID-19 recovery plans.

UN Women supports Maasai women-led enterprises to respond to COVID-19

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Ngorongoro district in Arusha region is a land of craters, sacred forests and mountains, wild animals and the unique Maasai people. It is striking how this noble community has learnt to co-exist with nature, sharing land, wild food, herbs and water with the wild animals that roam freely in this beautiful paradise. This remarkable way of life has endured for many years and attracted thousands of tourists from around the world to Tanzania’s tourism hub, creating business opportunities for the Maasai people.

Calling to support indigenous peoples in COVID-19 response

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The United Nations Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG) on Indigenous Issues calls to include indigenous peoples needs and input in response efforts around the world.

In the Bolivian Amazon, women are protecting the forest and empowering themselves

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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.

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

Friday, August 2, 2019

UN Women joins all indigenous peoples everywhere, especially indigenous women and girls, in commemorating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This year’s theme of “Indigenous Languages” challenges us to ensure that indigenous women and girls have a voice—quite literally—in the diverse political, civil, social, economic and cultural spaces that they occupy.

Ask an activist: Why is economic independence important for indigenous women in Kenya?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Agnes Leina is an Indigenous woman from northern Kenya. She is the founder and Executive Director of the I’llaramatak Community Concerns (ICC), a resource centre offering livelihood options for women and working with pastoralist communities to recognize the equal value and potential of women and girls to contribute towards their families and communities. Ms. Leina was one of the participants of the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the UN’s largest annual gathering on women’s rights issues.

From where I stand: “Just the act of wearing our traditional clothes is an expression of resistance”

Monday, April 22, 2019

Sonia Maribel Sontay Herrera is an indigenous woman and human rights defender from Guatemala. Her vision is for Guatemala to respect the rights of indigenous women and hear their voices.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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