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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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Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will open the week-long gathering in Paris, which will focus on how mobile technology can be leveraged to empower and improve education for women and girls everywhere.
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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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At a winery at the end of a town in rural Herzegovina, a 32-year-old woman stands amid barrels of wine, staring across the vineyards. Her name is Sanja Juričić-Franić. Together with two more women, her sister and her mother, she leads the “Gangaš” winery in Čitluk, Bosnia and Herzegovina. A wife, mother and successful entrepreneur, she is an enologist who has had to combat prejudice and stereotypes in this male-dominated profession.
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Message by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman. Launch of Beijing+20 campaign: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity - Picture it!
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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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Yiping Cai attended the NGO forum of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing as a young journalist and an official youth delegate. Today at the age of 43, she lives in Beijing, China, and is an Executive Committee member of the international feminist network DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era) as well as a member of UN Women's Asia-Pacific Regional Civil Society Advisory Group.