Stories

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Over 40 youth from across Nepal sent pitches for developing videos focusing on the social norm they wanted to change. Five pitches on the themes of Chhaupadi (a form of menstrual exile where women and girls sleep in small huts or animal sheds during menstruation and immediately after giving birth), caste-based discrimination, issues of queer and disability and gender identity were shortlisted for filmmaking.
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“Women and men play a multi-faceted role in peacebuilding. Violent extremism is a phenomenon that impacts everyone and men and women are equally vulnerable to being affected and recruited by extremist ideologies,” says Durr e Maknoon, Director General Outreach of National Counter Terrorism Authority, Pakistan (NACTA).
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Palu, Indonesia – Supported by UN Women and its project partner, the Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) Indonesia, activists and government authorities who believe that women can play important roles in the effort are devising gender-responsive ways to tackle the risks of violent extremism in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province.
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The Philippines Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed an agreement in 2014 to end the protracted conflict in the Bangsamoro region of the southern Philippines. But while the agreement included provisions on empowering women, women and other groups including indigenous peoples, people living in conflict-affected areas and former combatants are at risk of being pushed to the margins.
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On March 8, Papua New Guinea joined the rest of the world to mark International Women’s Day under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable future tomorrow.” With support from UN Women and its donors, several activities were organized across the country.
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“Women in management positions are twice as likely as men in the same position to spend more time on DEI work that falls outside their formal job responsibilities,” says UN Women APAC’s Sarah Knibbs. Read on for Sarah’s thoughts on creating sustainable DEI impact, eliminating tokenism and accelerating equity. In this exclusive interview, Sarah spoke to People Matters about the key to sustainable DEI impact, the essentials to shaping transformative learning experiences and the role of men in enabling gender equity.
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UN Women spoke with two of the winners, Thai female university students Raweekarn Amarachgul and Asmanee Chesuemae. Raweekarn spent the day with Sarah Knibbs, officer-in-charge of UN Women Asia and Pacific, and Asmanee with Maria Holtsberg, the office’s humanitarian and disaster risk reduction advisor. The students talked about the climate crisis and gender inequality, and the importance of technology and education in possible solutions.
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Madam Maa Zenai stands proudly at the entrance to her brand-new shed. Inside is the small herd of cattle that has changed her life, thanks to a project that employed a ground-breaking partnership between IFAD and UN Women to empower rural women in China.
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Some impressive and inspirational young speakers took the podium in Bangkok on March 8, at an event hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and UN Women’s regional office in honour of International Women’s Day (IWD).
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Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh is home to over 880,000 Rohingya refugees who fled violence and persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Most Rohingya women and girls in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps are either survivors of, or witnesses to, gender-based violence. “In the Rohingya camp, community members have come from another country after experiencing tragedy and atrocities, so our behaviour towards them must be humanistic and tolerant,” says Atiqur Rahman, Commanding Officer of Bangladesh Armed Police Battalion 14, one of two battalions that serves Cox’s Bazar refugee camp.
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Ko Aung Lin, a 36-year-old famer and a member of the Mro ethnic group, lives in Ah Htet Myat Lay village, Ponnagyun Township, in Sittwe of Rakhine state in Myanmar’s far west. He is the only man among the 10 volunteers chosen in Rakhine for a joint project by UN Women and United Nations Population Fund to prevent violence against women and girls and help survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions delayed the start of the project.
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These stories showcase the vision and (expected) impacts that some of the outstanding women entrepreneurs participating in WEA-initiated programmes aim to bring to creating a more inclusive workplace, marketplace, and community.
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Teiyo Amos was struggling to make ends meet from her income as a market vendor after the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Her husband was back from Australia where he had been working in mining, leaving her as the family breadwinner. But her profits from selling betel nut and potatoes in the main market of Goroka, Papua New Guinea, were not sustaining her family.
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When UN Women first began to consider the way that climate change was hitting rural women in China, it was Qinghai that first came to mind. A large, sparsely populated province stretched high across the Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai has seen an unprecedented jump in precipitation and extreme weather, wreaking havoc on rural livelihoods. Its rural labor force also has a largely female face, being around 70-80 per cent women.
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Before the pandemic, Pariyar was able to get food and other essentials on loan from shops in her village and clear the bills when she received her wages, but things became increasingly difficult for Pariyar and her family under lockdown. “Without daily wages, my debts kept adding up. The shops were reluctant to give me more food without money, so my family started cutting down on food,” shares Pariyar.
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Rajeshwari Diaz, 46, and Kaweeda Manohari, 48, are among the many women who have seen these benefits as they attend trainings and community dialogues organized by a project called Promoting Women’s Engagement in Effective Solid Waste Management. UN Women is running the project jointly with United Nations Office for Project Services and Chrysalis, a local non-governmental organization. The 2020-2021 project is expected to directly benefit about 4,000 people in Puttalam and Mannar, fishing and agricultural districts along Sri Lanka’s western coast.
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This was clear in the passionate voices heard in the Youth Activism Accelerator group discussions that the Generation Equality campaign organized on July 13-15. “Adolescents and youth are ready to lead and ready to take the challenge to make change in the world,” said Chamathya Fernando, Generation Equality Youth Task Force member and coordinator. “Young people want to be co-creators, co-leaders and co-owners and be equal partners in setting the agenda.”
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“If you love God, how can you abuse your wife, your children? Sister Doreen, as she is simply known, has supported thousands of women and children survivors of domestic violence, raised funds to build two safe homes, and is at the forefront of the nation’s SAFENET1 approach of improving support services for survivors. As a young village girl growing up in the Makira-Ulawa Province of Solomon Islands she knew something was “not right”.
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When the Covid-19 pandemic struck Sri Lanka, women faced some of its most severe and unforeseen impacts. The pandemic exposed deep, structural inequalities that exist within our social and economic systems. A total of 61 percent of the country’s working women are in informal employment, where livelihoods were hit faster and harder by the pandemic and measures to control it.
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As Afghanistan begins a new chapter, Mohammad Naciri of UN Women for Asia and the Pacific says women and girls must retain their right to participate in public life, not just politically, but also socially and economically. Women’s access to services for health, education, legal and others must also be preserved.