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Chief Correspondent at the United Nations for the Associated Press (AP) and an icon in the field of journalism, Edith Lederer of the U.S. has had a long tryst with issues of gender equality and led the AP team at the historic Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. She was also one of the first female war reporters at a time when it was still fairly rare for women to be covering the news from the battle front, and the first woman to head a foreign AP bureau, in charge of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. With a long list of accolades, including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from International Women's Media Foundation, she has reported for the AP for nearly five decades.
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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.
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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.
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“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.
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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.
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Maha Almuneef is a 53-year-old mother of three and a Board-certified physician living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia who established the National Family Safety Programme (NFSP), the first specialized institution to address the issue of domestic violence in the country.
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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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Message by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman. Launch of Beijing+20 campaign: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity - Picture it!
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Hibaaq Osman is a global political strategist who attended the Beijing Conference in 1995. Today, she heads Karama, an international organization based in Cairo that is working to end violence against women in the Arab region and is a partner of the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality. Ms. Osman is also a member of UN Women's Global Civil Society Advisory Group.
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Nive Sharat Chandran is a 23-year-old From New Zealand who has served as the Vice-President and on the Board of Directors of the YWCA in Auckland.