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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.
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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.
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Kurbongul Kosimova established the first long-term shelter for women survivors of violence from the conflict as well as domestic violence, and their children. Her organization also supports survivors by forming sustainable self-help groups.
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Delphine Nana Mekounte, 60, was Cameroon’s National Coordinator for NGOs at the time of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. She is now the Director General of CEFEPROD (Women’s Centre for Promoting Development), a nongovernmental organization that promotes the economic, social and cultural development of women and youth.