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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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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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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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Raised by engineers, Radia Perlman loved puzzles and problem solving from a young age. A high-level math and science student, she credits her parents for their encouragement and support. Going on to study mathematics at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States of America, she was one of very few women at the university, with even fewer women in the Mathematics Department. After her first year of studies, she rarely saw women in either her dormitory or...
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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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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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Making the international journey to Beijing in 1995 for the first time, Kathie Bolognese, attended the Fourth World Conference on Women, the birthplace of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as part of an industry delegation. Today, an international strategic communications specialist, she is a current Board Member of the US National Committee for UN Women-Metro NY Chapter, an independent NGO that supports the mission of UN Women for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
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Scott Taylor is a Policy Analyst and Graduate Research Fellow at the Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership in New York, where he is pursuing an MA/PhD in International Relations. The 31-year-old California native is also currently interning within UN Women’s Programme Division for Africa.
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Christina is a 17-year-old girl living in New York City who is about to graduate from high school. She has been a Girl Advocate for The Working Group on Girls NGO for the past three years and works on the Girls Participation Task Force and Steering Committee.