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Aasha Mehreen Amin was one of the first female editors of the most read English language magazine in Bangladesh, The Star, and is now the deputy editor of the Editorial and Op-ed section of the most widely circulated English newspaper in the country, The Daily Star. In her column “No Strings Attached”, in the paper, she provides insightful commentary on the news of the day. An emblem of courageous journalism, she is well-known in a media landscape where political commentary is a risky business, and the workforce, especially in the news media, dominated by men.
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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and has extensive experience in international diplomacy and the protection of human rights. Here, he discusses achievements and gaps in guaranteeing equal rights for all, and stresses the importance and courage ofwomen human rights defenders, and the challenges they face.
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Born and raised in a remote, rural and poor Bedouin community in the eastern desert of the Kingdom of Jordan, she had to push against the conservative traditions of her village to pursue her dream of becoming a solar engineer. For Rafea Um Gomar, the path has not been easy, from living in abject poverty to facing persecution by her own family when she decided to challenge gender roles and step beyond the boundaries of her household. But she was not one to give up. She wanted to use updated technology to power up her village, stimulate women’s role in the local economy, reduce poverty and provide a better life for her four daughters and her community.
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Professor Muhammad Yunus established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh with the objective of helping poor people escape from poverty by providing loans without collateral to support income-generating activities. From Prof. Yunus's personal loan of small amounts of money in the mid-70s to destitute basket-weavers in Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank has advanced to the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through microlending. Today it has 8.4 million borrowers of whom 97 per cent are women, and has lent over USD 8.4 billion with a near 100 per cent repayment rate. Prof. Yunus is the recipient of 112 awards, including, the World Food Prize, the Sydney Peace Prize, and the Seoul Peace Prize. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009.
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The Fourth World Conference on Women took place in Beijing in 1995. Why then would young people care about it, why should it matter today? That is the challenge UN Women in Jordan decided to take head on at an event recently. How can one explore the critical areas of concern under the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action with young people in a way that is engaging and interactive? This was part of the joint programme led by UN Women Realizing Beijing+20 in Jordan: Women in Action!, with WHO, UNFPA, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNRWA as partners, the team decided to put together a number of initiatives to address key challenges and achievements in Jordan for gender equality.