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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka attended the opening session of the Global Conference on Women and Social Inclusion: From Beijing to Post-2015, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 6th May. The Conference runs from 6-8 May, and is co-organized by the Argentinian government and UNDP. Bringing together over 200 global leaders, parliamentarians, policy-makers, researchers and activists, the Conference aims to analyze progress made since the Beijing Platform for Action with a focus on poverty, political participation and leadership and their impact on promoting equality for women.
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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.
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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.
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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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More than 300 global leaders gathered today in Santiago, Chile, to take part in a high-level conference on women in power and decision-making as part of UN Women’s global Beijing+20 campaign. It aims to galvanize political support to achieve gender equality and honour commitments made by 189 governments to uphold the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
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Using an explosion of colour and audacious costumes to tell the story of brave women everywhere, the traditional samba school of Mangueira paid tribute to the women who fight every day to overcome gender inequalities in their parade. It is one of several national events for UN Women’s global Beijing+20 "Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It!" campaign.
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“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...
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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...
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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...
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Santiago - After two days of rigorous and productive discussions during the Latin America and Caribbean Special Session on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action , delegations from 21 countries unanimously reaffirmed the region’s commitment to the Platform for Action, and the goal to remove  barriers that prevent women's active participation in all spheres of public and private life. The regional review was held in Santiago, Chile from November 18-19 hosted by the Economic...
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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...
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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...
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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.