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She was brought up by a single mother in rural Jamaica, in a family of modest means. Today she is the Commanding Officer of Jamaica’s Coast Guard, the first woman to attain the prestigious position in the island state, as well as the entire Caribbean region. Commander Antonette Wemyss-Gorman learned early in life never to accept ‘no’ for an answer. Her mantra: “I can do that!”
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Michelle Bachelet was sworn-in for a second term as President of Chile in March 2014. Previously, she was the first Executive Director of UN Women, from its inception in 2010 until March 2013. A longstanding women’s rights advocate, she has promoted gender equality and empowerment of women throughout her distinguished political career, including as her country’s first female President, between 2006 and 2010. In this editorial, she says nearly 20 years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, we must recognize significant progress, but challenges remain in terms of gender equality and equity.
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Growing up impoverished in Costa Rica without even a roof over her head, few could have predicted the career and life Sandra Cauffman has today. She is the Deputy Project Manager on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States, devoted to understanding Mars’ upper atmosphere. The daughter of a domestic violence survivor who escaped her abuser and had to take three jobs to support her children, Sandra’s mantra was her mother’s words “not to repeat the same story”.
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When Marcelina Bautista Bautista left her indigenous Mixtec community in Nochtixtlan, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, at the age of 14 with only a primary school education and no knowledge of Spanish, she didn’t dream that one day she would end up contributing to the development of an international treaty for domestic workers’ rights.
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Tarcila Rivera Zea was 44 years old when she took part in the World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Today, this indigenous Peruvian activist is President of the Centre for Indigenous Cultures of Peru (CHIRAPAQ) and a member of the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group.