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Zeliha Ünaldi, a long-standing gender advocate who attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, speaks on the impact of the meeting on her life. She now works as a Gender Officer in the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Turkey.
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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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Experiencing a harrowing train accident that robbed her of an arm and a leg at 19, Şafak Pavey, chose to overcome her challenges by immersing herself in the dual causes of gender equality and the environment. As the first Turkish woman parliamentarian with disabilities, she is a role model for many. She has also worked for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in conflict zones, produced three books, and now contributes to law-making for her country. Her mission is promoting equal rights for people of all races, creeds and religions. Winner of the International Woman of Courage Award from the U.S. Department of State, she is a force to be reckoned with.
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Wanda Nowicka raised issues faced by the women of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region at the Beijing Conference in 1995. Since then she has been working tirelessly towards the implementation of the Conference’s outcomes. She is a Member of Polish Parliament and Deputy Speaker of the Sejm – the main chamber of the Polish Parliament.
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UN Agencies and over 150 organizations came together on the International Day of the Girl Child to applaud successes in ending violence against women and girls, such as being the first country to sign the The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), but also to devise active steps that still must be taken to prevent violence against girls on a national scale.
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UN Women and the Consortium of NGOs, a group of NGOs brought together to promote the global Beijing+20 campaign in Guinea continue to lead the way in defending girls rights and commemorating the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. In a country facing the Ebola crisis wherein women and girls are often on the frontlines of caring for the patients, a special advocacy event titled Voices of Girls: Today’s Girls, Tomorrow’s Women was held to focus on the importance of girls and their futures on the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October.
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Teresa Oleszczuk is a women’s rights activist who took part in the Beijing Conference in 1995. She is one of the founders of the La Strada Foundation against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery, an organization that works to combat human trafficking in Poland and in several countries across Europe.