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Creating new pathways, in the skies and on the ground

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dual passions of flying and sport harmonize in Patricia Campos Doménech’s life. She is the first female pilot in the Spanish Armed Forces, and one of the first female professional European soccer coaches for an American team. She has won several awards for her piloting career, has been honoured as an official speaker for the U.S. organization Women in Aviation, and has also been given awards from the Spanish government on multiple occasions for both her piloting and coaching careers. Trailblazing in the Spanish Navy and in sport, she is a powerful voice for change. More

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

Forging ahead for free and equal elections

Monday, August 31, 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

Wednesday, June 24, 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

Monday, June 15, 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

Building peace through women’s leadership

Thursday, May 28, 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

Charting new territory on the minefields

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Living in a country where patriarchy is deeply entrenched, Nazokat Begmatova, a 34-year old women from a village in southern Tajikistan took an unusual professional path as a humanitarian deminer. Delaying marriage and strapping on 25 kilograms of equipment on her body daily, she broke stereotypes of what a working woman looks like. Her desire to be active, to develop her personal skills and explore more opportunities for economic independence motivated her to overcome her immense fear of mines. She now works as part of an all-female demining team. 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

Galvanizing multimedia for multiple causes

Monday, May 18, 2015

A proud defender of human rights and known as one of the most creative people in the industry, Vesna Andree Zaimović is co-creator of Radio Sarajevo’s web portal, one of the most visited websites in the Bosnia and Herzegovina, and what many call the best news source in today’s new media landscape in the country. She was also the brain behind Manjine.ba, the first web project for the disadvantaged, highlighting triumphs in claiming rights and kick-starting an online community. A trained musicologist, she is a veteran of the Eurovision song contest, one of the longest running TV shows in history. More

Wielding the pen for independence, and independent journalism

Monday, May 4, 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

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

Pioneering the way for women in defense and security

Monday, April 20, 2015

The first female Minister of Defense in Spain, she began her career as a law lecturer. At the age of 27, she was elected the vice-mayor of Esplugues de Llobregat in Barcelona, and then worked assiduously towards women’s equal rights in the rule of law for several years as a parliamentarian. A working mother of one, Carme Chacón became the Vice-President of Congress, the Minister of Housing, and finally, was appointed as the first female Minister of Defense of Spain. 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

Charting a new path for women in medicine and health care

Wednesday, April 1, 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

Saving lives through scientific research

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Asel Sartbaeva is one of the first internationally recognized female scientists from Central Asia. Her research aims to discover a substance to aid in transport and storage of vaccines without refrigeration, a major issue in disease prevention globally. She was short listed for the L’OREAL-UNESCO Women in Science Fellowship for her work in vaccine preservation and is one of the 175 Faces of Chemistry, a prestigious professional organization in the UK. Successfully navigating the male dominated fields of chemistry and physics, she is currently a Royal Research Fellow at the University of Bath in the UK. More

Creating history, building a rights culture

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Experiencing a harrowing train accident that robbed her of an arm and a leg at 19, Şafak Pavey, chose to overcome her challenges by immersing herself in the dual causes of gender equality and the environment. As the first Turkish woman parliamentarian with disabilities, she is a role model for many. She has also worked for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in conflict zones, produced three books, and now contributes to law-making for her country. Her mission is promoting equal rights for people of all races, creeds and religions. Winner of the International Woman of Courage Award from the U.S. Department of State, she is a force to be reckoned with. More

WOA Sierra Leone Christiana Thorpe

Monday, March 30, 2015

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Leading scientific innovations, making history

Monday, February 23, 2015

Raised by engineers, Radia Perlman loved puzzles and problem solving from a young age. A high-level math and science student, she credits her parents for their encouragement and support. Going on to study mathematics at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States of America, she was one of very few women at the university, with even fewer women in the Mathematics Department. After her first year of studies, she rarely saw women in either her dormitory or... More

Leading the way for women and girls with disabilities

Monday, February 2, 2015

She is often called the shining hope for people with disabilities.  Abia Akram, age 30, is an educated woman, and proud of the two Master’s degrees she holds. She personifies the cause she champions: that education can be the catalyst in a world where those with disabilities are not always taken seriously. The first female with disabilities from Pakistan to win the much sought after U.K. Government’s Chevening scholarship, Akram has continued to push for change,... More

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