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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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More than 300 global leaders gathered today in Santiago, Chile, to take part in a high-level conference on women in power and decision-making as part of UN Women’s global Beijing+20 campaign. It aims to galvanize political support to achieve gender equality and honour commitments made by 189 governments to uphold the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
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Using an explosion of colour and audacious costumes to tell the story of brave women everywhere, the traditional samba school of Mangueira paid tribute to the women who fight every day to overcome gender inequalities in their parade. It is one of several national events for UN Women’s global Beijing+20 "Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It!" campaign.
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She is often called the shining hope for people with disabilities.  Abia Akram, age 30, is an educated woman, and proud of the two Master’s degrees she holds. She personifies the cause she champions: that education can be the catalyst in a world where those with disabilities are not always taken seriously. The first female with disabilities from Pakistan to win the much sought after U.K. Government’s Chevening scholarship, Akram has continued to push for change,...
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As a youngster, she was often at her father’s side, discussing current affairs and the evening news. Her father would ask her to give him a recap of the evening news, and she wouldn’t miss out on this opportunity to show her knowledge, especially in a world that often ignored the visually impaired. Florence Ndagire became the first visually impaired lawyer in Uganda, a country that though modern in many ways, does not often create educational curricula and materials for the...
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She was brought up by a single mother in rural Jamaica, in a family of modest means. Today she is the Commanding Officer of Jamaica’s Coast Guard, the first woman to attain the prestigious position in the island state, as well as the entire Caribbean region. Commander Antonette Wemyss-Gorman learned early in life never to accept ‘no’ for an answer. Her mantra: “I can do that!”
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Bursting through the barriers of the male-dominated profession of competitive sport, Nawal El Moutawakel is the first Arab, African, and Muslim woman to win an Olympic gold medal, which she did for the 400-metre hurdles in 1984. She followed up her win serving as the first Minister of Sports in Morocco.
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She is the first woman to ever ski alone, without the assistance of a guide or supplies, from the outside world to the South Pole. She climbed Mount Everest, getting to within 1,900 metres of the summit before having to turn back due to altitude sickness. She sailed and skied across Antarctica’s landmass, and lead the first group of women over the Greenland Ice Cap unsupported. And she is also the author of several books and educational curricula including Nice Girls Do Not Ski to the South Pole and Can I Do It? From Dream to Reality.
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Nearly 20 years ago, the world came together in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. There, 189 governments adopted a visionary roadmap for gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Some 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists pictured a world where women and girls had equal rights, freedom and opportunity in every sphere of life.