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Leading a village, ushering equality

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Asnaini Mirzan decided to create space for women in local politics after watching her parents live a life of public service. The first and only female head of the village council in Aceh province, she demonstrates through her own example that women can be leaders, farmers and mothers simultaneously. Her goals to improve women’s access to health care, achieve gender parity in schools and create transparent administrative processes have seen much progress, along with contributing to peace and development for the village. She also teaches agricultural courses for women to support women’s economic independence. More

Conquering the skies, the first woman pilot of Timor-Leste

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cristina Amaral, or Kiki as she likes to be called, is Timor-Leste’s first female pilot. She grew up in the isolated district of Oecusse in a country known for its recently restored independence, and couldn’t help but notice that all pilots in her beloved country were male. After studying and balancing the care of her four siblings, she won a scholarship to attend flight school, standing up against the odds in her male-dominated profession. Today, she proudly soars high above the clouds, a remarkable figure in the aviation industry. More

In the midst of war, a women’s rights warrior

Thursday, May 28, 2015

In Afghanistan, she is known as the first female provincial governor, no small feat in a country that has weathered conflict and hardship for nearly 40 years. Through it all, Dr. Habiba Sarabi’s passion for human rights and education for women have grown every day. Recognized by Time Magazine in 2008 as a Hero for the Environment, and after several ministerial posts, she is currently the Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer on Women’s Affairs and Youth, a prestigious position in the new government. More

Breaking barriers, with the power of paper and pen

Monday, May 4, 2015

Aasha Mehreen Amin was one of the first female editors of the most read English language magazine in Bangladesh, The Star, and is now the deputy editor of the Editorial and Op-ed section of the most widely circulated English newspaper in the country, The Daily Star. In her column “No Strings Attached”, in the paper, she provides insightful commentary on the news of the day. An emblem of courageous journalism, she is well-known in a media landscape where political commentary is a risky business, and the workforce, especially in the news media, dominated by men. More

“You aren’t defined by anyone else’s limitations on you”

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dr. Erna Takazawa is the first and only optometrist in Samoa, and is also one of the first winners of the Queen’s Young Leader Award for her transformative work in eye health. Practicing optometry at the National Hospital Service, she also works in partnership with an NGO to provide sight to children with disabilities. As Clinical Director for Samoa’s Special Olympics Opening Eyes Programme, she has screened over 200 athletes with disabilities and trains teachers to detect eye issues early in their students. More

Scaling new horizons with daring dives

Monday, January 5, 2015

Archana Sardana, a 40-year old adventure enthusiast is India’s first woman civilian BASE jumper, often jumping from a bridge of over 3,600 metres (12,000 feet). Raised in India, a country where’s women’s participation in sports remains uneven, Sardana did not grow up as an adventure sports enthusiast. A mother of two boys, she graduated with a diploma in interior design, and says she never took an interest in outdoor activities. But just 20 days after her... More

A crusader of human rights and dignity

Monday, December 1, 2014

Angkhana Neelapaijit had imagined a life much different from the one she has today. The sudden disappearance of her husband, Somchai Neelapaijit, a human rights lawyer, changed the course of her life and took her on a path she had never thought she would travel.  From a homemaker looking after her husband and five children, she turned into a fearless defender of human rights, working tirelessly to bring back her husband, and supported many others whose rights were violated. Winner of... More

The Asia-Pacific Beijing+20 Ministerial review takes place in Bangkok

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bangkok, 19 November – The first day of the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+20 Review in Bangkok began with stocktaking  on achievements made towards gender equality thus far, as well as emphasizing challenges that the region still faces in light of the 20-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action , known as the blueprint for women’s rights and signed by 189 governmental representatives in 1995 as... More

Arunachalam Muruganantham – Breaking taboos, pioneering innovation for women’s health

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It all started on a hot summer day near the southern city of Coimbatore in India. Struck by his wife’s statement that she could either have milk or sanitary napkins, Arunachalam Muruganantham, a man from a poor household who had only gone to school till the age of 14, decided to do something. He wanted to get to the bottom of why women in his community were using rags instead of sanitary towels, rags so dirty, that he would not even use them to clean his scooter. Was this a financial problem? Or one that occurred due to the lack of information about women’s hygiene? The answer was both: after doing some informal research in his village, he found that less than one in ten women were using sanitary napkins. They were expensive and women could not afford them, and they also did not know the adverse health consequences of what they used instead, sometimes sand, sawdust, leaves and even ash and mud. More

Rafiq Pathan-On the path less travelled, changing hearts and minds

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

India’s Rafiq Pathan stands at the forefront of efforts to end discrimination towards girls, and symbolically plants a fruit tree every time a girl is born. He treads on the difficult path where few men have gone before, undertaking grass-roots advocacy to change the hearts and minds of parents, many of whom value boys more than girls. More

Diversity of voices at Beijing+20 consultations in India

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Radha Bai, started as a self-help group member of the Narmada Mahila Sangh, a federation of women’s self-help groups spread over 217 villages fighting violence against women in rural areas, and providing safe spaces to earn income and learn new skills. At the Beijing+20 India Civil Society National Consultation from 11-12 August, she voiced the experiences of thousands of grass-roots women from her home state of Madhya Pradesh. "After receiving gender training and understanding about what gender inequality entails, I would go back home and count the number of times that I was discriminated against. It was eye-opening, and I realized how much women suffer in a patriarchal society." She now works as a community mobilizer, training women on issues of patriarchy, their rights and entitlements, and the damaging effects of discrimination. More

Nepal President addresses more than 400 activists at Beijing+20 consultations

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

“A nation cannot be fully thriving if women are not given their due space and their rights are not ensured,” said the President of Nepal, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav at the three-day consultation in Nepal’s capital to discuss progress on the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The meeting, held from 21-23 August, was organized in the lead up to the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, which will be commemorated in 2015. More

Dhruv Arora - Co-creator of GotStared.At & #itsnotyourfault, to end street harassment of women and girls

Monday, August 11, 2014

A digital expert and a gender activist, Dhruv Arora, 25, is passionate about both these dimensions of his work and is widely known in New Delhi, India, as the man galvanizing action through an online movement on gender issues. More

Young, and restless, to bring lasting change

Monday, July 28, 2014

It all started with a visit to a rural Indian village. Sanchaita Gajapati Raju draws inspiration from her mother, who from a very young age instilled in her a deep civic sense and encouraged her to help those less fortunate. On a visit to an impoverished village, Sanchaita noted the lack of facilities and clean drinking water. Through her interactions with the communities there, she got a better understanding of their predicament and how technology could improve peoples’ lives by not only enhancing public health, but also through creating services that would allow people, primarily women, to spend less time collecting fresh water. Thus her organization SANA was born. More

Chanda Kochhar – “The sky’s the limit”

Friday, June 27, 2014

In 2014, Chanda Kochhar, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ICICI Bank Limited, India's largest private sector bank and the second-largest bank in the country, was named among Fortune's 50 most powerful women in business for the fourth consecutive year. More

The unstoppable police officer of Timor-Leste

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Winner of the prestigious 2014 Gender Equality Advocate Award of the Secretary of State for the Promotion of Equality, in November 2013 Amelia a police officer with the Vulnerable Person’s Unit of the National Police of Timor-Leste is a powerful voice and a role model. In a country where women make up less than 20 per cent of the national police force, Amelia, who is a mother of two young children, is one of the longest-serving members of the Vulnerable Persons Unit, which has a particularly challenging mandate, dealing with crimes that are often accepted culturally within society and where survivors face various barriers in accessing justice. More

The Good Doctor

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dr. Krisana Kraisintu, Thailand, Gypsy Pharmacist, affordable health care, HIV/AIDS, malaria, sick, Asia, Africa, medicine, Ramon Magsaysay Award, Public Service, top woman executive, pharmaceutical industry, UN Women, Women of Achievement, Beijing+20 More

She builds bridges, schools and delivers results

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mother of three children and a home-maker for more than a decade, few in her sleepy village would have imagined that she would be planning bridges and schools today. But that is Vandana Bahadur Maida’s life in Khankhandvi, in the populous state of Madhya Pradesh, India. Despite family opposition and cultural norms that define a woman’s place in society, she was elected Head of the village council, the first woman Sarpanch. Her election was path-breaking for the village and also for Vandana’s family—as she superseded her own husband who used to be a member of the village council but never the elected leader. More

Fighting the spirits, to defend and protect

Monday, May 19, 2014

Accusations of sorcery are widespread in the communities of the highlands in Papua New Guinea. Often for deaths or illness, for theft or accident, the cause is believed to be sorcery, with the villain more often than not being allegedly a woman. Protecting many such wrongly accused women is human rights defender Monica Paulus. Fearless, determined and outspoken, she rescues women and girls accused of sorcery, preventing many from violent punishment, or death. More

“Fulfil the promises that we made to our daughters”

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ranjana Kumari was 42 years old when she attended the Beijing Conference in 1995 as Convener of the South Asian Network for Women in Politics. She was also the Director of the Centre for Social Research in India at the time, a position she still holds today. More

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