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Lessons from Beijing shaped my life

15 September 2015

Peace Kyamureku attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing as Deputy Secretary-General of the National Association of Women Organizations in Uganda. She had quit her job and took a steep salary cut to start working for the Association where she spent 17 years after the Conference championing women’s rights. Today she is a volunteer Technical Advisor through VSO International, an organization that places volunteers where they are needed. Her current placement is with at UN Women Tanzania supporting the work to advance gender equality and the women’s movement. More

Forging ahead for free and equal elections

31 August 2015

Christiana Thorpe is Sierra Leone’s first female Chief Electoral Commissioner. She serves as the Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the entity with the sole authority to prepare and conduct all public elections. A former nun, school teacher, principal, and professor, she values education and freedom above all else. A former Minister of Education and the only female member of the Cabinet at that time, she launched an organization to promote women’s rights in education and the workplace during her tenure. Taking pride in her accomplishments, she inspires both women and men with her tenacity. More

An Officer, and an activist

24 June 2015

As the first female Sub-Prefect Officer in the Guinean Navy, Captain Bontou Soumah has risen above discrimination and challenges to achieve her dream of becoming a seafarer. Living through sometimes choppy waters both in her career and her life, she has risen above the tides to be a top leader in the Navy. Climbing up the ranks, she eventually won the appointment of Officer and Chevalier of the Order of Merit of the Republic in 2005, by order of the President. More

Building peace, bringing hope

15 June 2015

Zahra Abdelnaieem is the head of Niswa, a network of community, religious and political leaders that connects with conflict-affected groups to work towards peace and reconciliation. The group also supports survivors of gender-based violence by linking them to medical, legal and community services. Though she has lost the people closest to her and endured incredible struggle to sustain the network, she overcomes obstacles by keeping a positive attitude and tenaciously continues to reach out to her community for strength. More

To temper war and conflict, empower women

28 May 2015

Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia was elected by consensus as the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in December 2011. She has received numerous accolades, including the International Jurists Award from the World Jurists’ Association, and was named among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2012 and by Jeune Afrique as one of 50 African women who, by their actions and initiatives in their respective roles, advance the African continent (2014 & 2015). The former Head of the Legal Advisory Unit of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and former Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC, she has played a key role in many far-reaching international cases over the last three decades. More

Building peace through women’s leadership

28 May 2015

A messenger of peace, a mother of ten children and leader of the first Peace Hut and Women’s Empowerment Centre of Liberia, Annie Nushann is a household name in peacebuilding in her post-conflict country. With 17 Peace Huts and Women’s Empowerment Centres now in operation, 425 women leaders have been trained on conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and economic empowerment, and some have even begun training others. Through training sessions on financial management and small business ownership, these Centres bring sustainable peace and a strengthened economy through women’s leadership. More

Wielding the pen for independence, and independent journalism

04 May 2015

The founder and former editor of world-renowned newspaper, The Namibian, Gwen Lister has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. She established two newspapers, and is the winner of a long list of awards including the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation and the Inter Press Service’s International Journalism Award. She was also honoured with the prestigious World Press Freedom Hero award by the International Press Institute. Using her media publications to advocate for Namibia’s independence, she has overcome attacks, slander and death threats to uphold her convictions. More

Charting a new path for women in medicine and health care

01 April 2015

A true pioneer in the field of medicine, throughout her childhood she attended all boys’ schools to study science. Dr. Josephine Namboze is East and Central Africa’s first female medical doctor, and the first woman in Africa to head an institute of public health. As the first ever Representative for the World Health Organization in Botswana, she also wrote extensively about how race is not a determining factor in infectious and non-infectious disease. Also the first woman professor of medicine in East Africa, she didn’t just break the glass ceiling, but shattered it becoming a role model for many. More

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka - It’s Time to Step It Up for Gender Equality

04 March 2015

In this op-ed for International Women’s Day, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka looks at the mixed progress since the 1995 Beijing Conference. She urges for recommitment and an end point to achieving gender equality with substantial action now, and full equality before 2030. More

Girls central to Beijing+20 campaign in Mali

07 January 2015

“A development mechanism which ignores input from youth is like a car without gas, as it ignores one of its sources of energy,” said Fatouma Seid, the Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Mali at the public launch of the Beijing+20 campaign. In November, the international community in Mali built momentum towards the 20 year anniversary of the Beijing Conference by launching the campaign as a public event in the capital city of Bamako. The public launch... More

The impact of Beijing: Gender equality as a political issue

05 December 2014

Edelfride Barbosa Almeida is an economist and founding member of one of the first NGOs in Cabo Verde to promote gender equality, Morabi. She participated in the parallel forum of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held specifically for NGOs, in Huairou, China and is the current President of the Cabo Verdian Association for Family Protection, VerdeFam . The Fourth World Conference on Women [where the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action were adopted] was a great opportunity to... More

Fighting for justice, for all

01 December 2014

As a youngster, she was often at her father’s side, discussing current affairs and the evening news. Her father would ask her to give him a recap of the evening news, and she wouldn’t miss out on this opportunity to show her knowledge, especially in a world that often ignored the visually impaired. Florence Ndagire became the first visually impaired lawyer in Uganda, a country that though modern in many ways, does not often create educational curricula and materials for the... More

In Addis Ababa, UN Women Deputy Executive Director meets with civil society advisory group ahead of Beijing+20 regional review

19 November 2014

Addis Ababa – On the eve of the official Beijing+20 regional review, UN Women Deputy Executive Director, Lakshmi Puri, met with members of UN Women 12-member Civil Society Advisory Group in Ethiopia, and UN Women teams from the Africa region. Puri was in Ethiopia to attend the African Regional Conference on Beijing+20, which opened on 17 November at the Conference Center of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), bringing together representatives from 51 African nations to review... More

In Uganda, reaffirming women’s economic empowerment in the lead up to Beijing+20 reviews

18 November 2014

Kampala – The government of Uganda hosted a meeting of representatives from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, civil society organizations and high-level participants from the private sector and the government. With a focus on women’s economic empowerment, one of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform, the target was to compile concrete recommendations for the government and influential figures to scale up women’s progress in the financial... More

UN Women and African civil society applaud progress and recommit to equality

05 November 2014

Civil society is known as one of the tenets in maintaining democracy, holding governments accountable for citizens’ rights in support of both national and international laws and legislative frameworks. Ethiopia’s strong civil society convened from 21-22 October to recommit to gender equality and to review progress made within the country on achieving advancement for women in line with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The forum, organized by UN Women and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), as well as The African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) and IPAS, focused on a range of important issues, such as women’s participation in the economy and as legislators. More

A passion for politics and the poor

01 October 2014

On the islands of the archipelago that make up Cabo Verde, a country off the coast of western Africa, she is a household name. One of youngest Members of Parliament in the country, dynamic, bold, and passionate, Graça Sanches, became a parliamentarian at the age of 30 through sheer force of will. With her current role, she is also the President of the Network of Women Parliamentarians, a group that collaborates with relentless tenacity to ensure that women are included in policy and legislation planning. Graça Sanches acts as a galvanizing force for the National Assembly to include women’s voices at every turn. More

Scoring a goal for equality

08 September 2014

A household name in Sierra Leone, Isha Johansen is the first female President of Sierra Leone’s Football Association and currently, the only female Football Association President in the world. More

Spotlighting women rights, Beijing+20 campaign launched in Uganda

26 August 2014

“I was not yet born when the Beijing Conference was held, but the issues raised at that time are still affecting young girls like me today,” said Esther Sagaru, a 19-year old participant, echoing many of her generation at an event in Uganda, which brought together diverse groups working on gender equality and women’s empowerment. More

Malian lawyer builds peace and hope

15 May 2014

The stories of gang-rape, forced marriage and fathers being forced to rape their own daughters at gunpoint keep her awake at night. Saran Keïta Diakité has listened to countless women recount the atrocities that the people of her war-torn country (Mali) have endured at the hands of armed groups since a military coup d’état in March 2012. In April 2012, she was one of only a handful of women who took part in peace talks in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – as women have slowly been making inroads at peace talks around the world. More

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