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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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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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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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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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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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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.