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Christiana Thorpe is Sierra Leone’s first female Chief Electoral Commissioner. She serves as the Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the entity with the sole authority to prepare and conduct all public elections. A former nun, school teacher, principal, and professor, she values education and freedom above all else. A former Minister of Education and the only female member of the Cabinet at that time, she launched an organization to promote women’s rights in education and the workplace during her tenure. Taking pride in her accomplishments, she inspires both women and men with her tenacity.
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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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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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A household name in Sierra Leone, Isha Johansen is the first female President of Sierra Leone’s Football Association and currently, the only female Football Association President in the world.