Stories

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A messenger of peace, a mother of ten children and leader of the first Peace Hut and Women’s Empowerment Centre of Liberia, Annie Nushann is a household name in peacebuilding in her post-conflict country. With 17 Peace Huts and Women’s Empowerment Centres now in operation, 425 women leaders have been trained on conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and economic empowerment, and some have even begun training others. Through training sessions on financial management and small business ownership, these Centres bring sustainable peace and a strengthened economy through women’s leadership.
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Archana Sardana, a 40-year old adventure enthusiast is India’s first woman civilian BASE jumper, often jumping from a bridge of over 3,600 metres (12,000 feet). Raised in India, a country where’s women’s participation in sports remains uneven, Sardana did not grow up as an adventure sports enthusiast. A mother of two boys, she graduated with a diploma in interior design, and says she never took an interest in outdoor activities. But just 20 days after her...
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Angkhana Neelapaijit had imagined a life much different from the one she has today. The sudden disappearance of her husband, Somchai Neelapaijit, a human rights lawyer, changed the course of her life and took her on a path she had never thought she would travel.  From a homemaker looking after her husband and five children, she turned into a fearless defender of human rights, working tirelessly to bring back her husband, and supported many others whose rights were violated. Winner of...
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Bangkok, 19 November – The first day of the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+20 Review in Bangkok began with stocktaking  on achievements made towards gender equality thus far, as well as emphasizing challenges that the region still faces in light of the 20-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action , known as the blueprint for women’s rights and signed by 189 governmental representatives in 1995 as...
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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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Radha Bai, started as a self-help group member of the Narmada Mahila Sangh, a federation of women’s self-help groups spread over 217 villages fighting violence against women in rural areas, and providing safe spaces to earn income and learn new skills. At the Beijing+20 India Civil Society National Consultation from 11-12 August, she voiced the experiences of thousands of grass-roots women from her home state of Madhya Pradesh. "After receiving gender training and understanding about what gender inequality entails, I would go back home and count the number of times that I was discriminated against. It was eye-opening, and I realized how much women suffer in a patriarchal society." She now works as a community mobilizer, training women on issues of patriarchy, their rights and entitlements, and the damaging effects of discrimination.
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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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It all started with a visit to a rural Indian village. Sanchaita Gajapati Raju draws inspiration from her mother, who from a very young age instilled in her a deep civic sense and encouraged her to help those less fortunate. On a visit to an impoverished village, Sanchaita noted the lack of facilities and clean drinking water. Through her interactions with the communities there, she got a better understanding of their predicament and how technology could improve peoples’ lives by not only enhancing public health, but also through creating services that would allow people, primarily women, to spend less time collecting fresh water. Thus her organization SANA was born.
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In 2014, Chanda Kochhar, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ICICI Bank Limited, India's largest private sector bank and the second-largest bank in the country, was named among Fortune's 50 most powerful women in business for the fourth consecutive year.
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Dr. Krisana Kraisintu, Thailand, Gypsy Pharmacist, affordable health care, HIV/AIDS, malaria, sick, Asia, Africa, medicine, Ramon Magsaysay Award, Public Service, top woman executive, pharmaceutical industry, UN Women, Women of Achievement, Beijing+20
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Mother of three children and a home-maker for more than a decade, few in her sleepy village would have imagined that she would be planning bridges and schools today. But that is Vandana Bahadur Maida’s life in Khankhandvi, in the populous state of Madhya Pradesh, India. Despite family opposition and cultural norms that define a woman’s place in society, she was elected Head of the village council, the first woman Sarpanch. Her election was path-breaking for the village and also for Vandana’s family—as she superseded her own husband who used to be a member of the village council but never the elected leader.
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Ranjana Kumari was 42 years old when she attended the Beijing Conference in 1995 as Convener of the South Asian Network for Women in Politics. She was also the Director of the Centre for Social Research in India at the time, a position she still holds today.