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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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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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UN Women ‘Ready for the lists’, say Uruguayan women  ( en español ) (UN Women, 2014)  For more information, check out the In Focus editorial package on Women in Power and Decision-making .
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A true force of nature: this is how she is popularly known. Braving criticism and challenging discrimination and stereotypes, Georgina Beyer paved a new path when she became the world’s first openly transsexual mayor in 1995, as well as the first openly transsexual Member of Parliament (MP) in 2000.
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Michelle Bachelet was sworn-in for a second term as President of Chile in March 2014. Previously, she was the first Executive Director of UN Women, from its inception in 2010 until March 2013. A longstanding women’s rights advocate, she has promoted gender equality and empowerment of women throughout her distinguished political career, including as her country’s first female President, between 2006 and 2010. In this editorial, she says nearly 20 years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, we must recognize significant progress, but challenges remain in terms of gender equality and equity.
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Maha Almuneef is a 53-year-old mother of three and a Board-certified physician living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia who established the National Family Safety Programme (NFSP), the first specialized institution to address the issue of domestic violence in the country.
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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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Message by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman. Launch of Beijing+20 campaign: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity - Picture it!
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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.