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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.
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Academy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Geena Davis is a long-standing advocate for increased and diverse representation of women in film and within the entertainment industry. She is the Founder and Chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, working with media and entertainment companies through research, education, and advocacy programmes to improve how girls and women are portrayed on-screen. The Institute released the first-ever global study on female characters in popular films in 2014, with support from UN Women and the Rockefeller Foundation.
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Melinda Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Along with Bill Gates, she shapes and approves the Foundation’s strategies, reviews results, and sets the overall direction of the organization. Together, they meet with grantees and partners to further the Foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world. They make many public appearances to advocate for the Foundation’s issues.
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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.
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Nicola Grinstead is Chair of the World Board of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, a global movement of 10 million girls and young women in 146 countries, dedicated to supporting girls and young women to reach their full potential. In this op-ed, she emphasizes the importance of life-long learning, non-formal and self-directed education and engaging girls and boys to eradicate gender-based violence....
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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and has extensive experience in international diplomacy and the protection of human rights. Here, he discusses achievements and gaps in guaranteeing equal rights for all, and stresses the importance and courage ofwomen human rights defenders, and the challenges they face.
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UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and Academy Award-winner Nicole Kidman raises awareness to end violence against women. With UN Women, she has travelled to countries, highlighting the challenges and solutions on the ground to end violence against women. She has worked to amplify the voices of women survivors, advocating not only for a stop to the pandemic of violence against women, but also for support services for survivors. Here, she urges members of society to play their part in ending this scourge that affects one in three women and girls globally.
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UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has devoted her life to issues of human rights, equality and social justice and previously served as Deputy President of South Africa. In this message, she stresses that violence against women can and must end by addressing its root cause – gender inequality. She calls for greater mobilization to address the pandemic on many levels, from increasing access to services for survivors of violence to engaging all segments of society to shift cultural mindsets. This includes, for instance, getting men to stand up on the issue through UN Women’s #HeForShe campaign.
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Professor Muhammad Yunus established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh with the objective of helping poor people escape from poverty by providing loans without collateral to support income-generating activities. From Prof. Yunus's personal loan of small amounts of money in the mid-70s to destitute basket-weavers in Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank has advanced to the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through microlending. Today it has 8.4 million borrowers of whom 97 per cent are women, and has lent over USD 8.4 billion with a near 100 per cent repayment rate. Prof. Yunus is the recipient of 112 awards, including, the World Food Prize, the Sydney Peace Prize, and the Seoul Peace Prize. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009.
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A former French minister for various economic portfolios – including finance and employment, agriculture and fisheries, and trade – Christine Lagarde was the first woman to become finance minister of a G8 economy and is the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She calls for opening the door to women’s learning, labour and leadership in the economy.
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Raised in Nigeria, Nnenna Agba gained nationwide popularity when she went on the widely watched television show America’s Next Top Model. With hard-won scholarships, she graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry; she also holds a Master’s of Science degree in Urban Affairs. Nnenna is supporting the education of her four sisters in Nigeria, and is the face of Kechie’s Project, a NGO that provides scholarships to girls from Nigerian schools. Almost immediately, the importance of education took on a different meaning in my life and in the lives of my four sisters. I went on to receive a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's of Science in Urban Affairs.
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A true force of nature: this is how she is popularly known. Braving criticism and challenging discrimination and stereotypes, Georgina Beyer paved a new path when she became the world’s first openly transsexual mayor in 1995, as well as the first openly transsexual Member of Parliament (MP) in 2000.
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On Saturday 14 June 2014, UN Women will host the first in a series of global events as part of the Beijing+20 Campaign, which commemorates the 20-year anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the visionary Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Focused on ensuring the human rights of women, the event will be held in collaboration with the Government of Sweden and the Nordic Forum in Malmö, Sweden.
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Parker Liautaud is a polar explorer and climate change campaigner. He has undertaken three expeditions to the North Pole and one to the South Pole. In 2013, he completed the fastest human-powered trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. He studies Geology & Geophysics at Yale University and is a Fellow at the Yale Climate & Energy Institute.
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Fashion icon Gisele Bündchen @giseleofficial is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Programme. She has been dubbed the world’s ‘greenest’ celebrity.
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Nearly 20 years ago, the world came together in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. There, 189 governments adopted a visionary roadmap for gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Some 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists pictured a world where women and girls had equal rights, freedom and opportunity in every sphere of life.
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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.
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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.