Stories

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Kert Tandog has been working for two years with the Liyang Network, which raises awareness of front-line environmental activists in Mindanao. One focus is training Indigenous communities on legal literacy and land property laws.
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Rakhine State, Myanmar – Daw Aye Mu had always wanted to learn how to expand her small business making snacks in western Myanmar. In July 2021, she was selected to attend the UN Women and World Vision Start to Improve Your Business (SIYB) training, along with a cash grant from partner organization Meikswe Myanmar. She explains how the opportunity was a stroke of personal good fortune amid difficult times for her country.
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Sharada Bista is the founder and chair of Disability Rights Promotion Forum in Nepal. She is from Doti District, in the Sudurpaschim Province of Nepal. Her drive to fight for those rights comes from growing up in the far west of the country with a physical disability herself. "My lived experience as a woman with a disability is what drove me to become a disability rights activist. I grew up watching society discriminate, insult, and shut away people with disabilities. Determined to overcome these injustices, I knew that a community was only as strong as its members who are furthest behind,"
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Mursal Samadi* had worked as a prosecutor, independent investigator, and a civil society leader for more than 16 years in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August. She remains in Afghanistan, advocating for the rights of Afghan women and girls.
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Sophie Teio, 24, a former volunteer with SANAP WANTAIM, a UN Women campaign against violence, runs an organization that encourages youths in Papua New Guinea to make their communities better. "While working under the SANAP WANTAIM campaign … I coordinated several campaign activities, which involved reaching out to communities and schools. We used to showcase short drama skits on ending violence against women..."
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Together with my siblings we grew up watching our parents arguing most of the time. My mum suffered both financial and verbal abuse. I did not like what was going on, but I did not know how to help. There are so many human rights violations and abuse happening every day in the community.
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Veronica Tamar Simogun is the founder of the Family for Change Association, which addresses domestic violence in Papua New Guinea. In 2017, Veronica won the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award for the East Asia Pacific region, in recognition of her advocacy for the rights of women and children who are survivors of violence.
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Naheed Farid was among many women leaders who left Afghanistan, fearing for their lives, as the Taliban took over in August 2021. Farid spoke at the UN recently, calling for international support to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and to safeguard women’s rights.
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UN Women speaks to Kalpa Garg, feminist youth leader from India, about the importance of menstrual hygiene and sexual health awareness among adolescents. On International Day of the Girl Child, girls everywhere are rising to claim their rights, under the global theme, Digital Generation. Our Generation. To learn, grow, access skills and opportunities, girls must also have access to safe and equal spaces and comprehensive reproductive and sexual health.
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Jesmin Aktar lives in a village of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She regularly attends UN Women's "Shanti Khana" [Multi-Purpose Women's Centre – MPWC] learning sessions and is dedicated to improving her life by pursuing a challenging job and contributing to society.
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Ramat Khan, 21, comes from a small village near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, where poverty rates are high and the practice of child marriage lives on. Once married, most girls drop out of school and are expected to take care of the household and bear children. As a Community Educator with UN Women’s Second Chance Education programme, she encourages women and girls in her village to complete their education. During the Covid-19 pandemic,
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Jyotsna Siddharth, actor, writer and activist from India, spoke at a side event during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, co-organized by UN Women and the National Alliance of Women’s Organisation in India. In this interview, Ms. Siddharth talks about India’s anti-caste and young feminist movement.
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I was forcefully married off at the age of 16 to a man who only knew violence. The miserable household held my parent-in-laws, brother and sister-in-law, and my unemployed husband. Within three months of my marriage, I realized that my husband had no affinity to get himself a job, and that is when the abuse began. It was always for dowry, to fund his failed ventures one after the other while the rest of the household fell deeper into the grasp of poverty.
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Otimau Mariano, 39, from Kiribati. Photo: UN Women/Jacqui Berrell There are so many men using their wife like punching bags, and it’s become normal, even if you stop them, the man will fight back with you, but this project reminds us of what should be normal.Since I joined this project, I have experienced a lot of change within myself. This project has helped me realise I want peace. This change was a result of the Strengthening Peaceful Villages training. In the training, I...
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Teretia Tokam, Coordinator of the Kiribati Women and Children Support Centre (KWCSC). Photo courtesy of Tara Chetty/Pacific Women Support Unit I think [often] about my journey so far and all my experiences bringing me to this point where I coordinate the Centre. Some experiences have been really tough, and they broke me down, but they also made me strong and able to give a voice to women and be supportive to women who are being abused. There was one experience that was a turning...
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Winifrida Elizabeth Nawaratne is a human rights activist and an active member of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka. She became engaged in social work following a course on human rights at the University of Colombo, which she took after retiring from her job as a typist. She was a participant in UN Women’s multistakeholder dialogues titled “Promoting Women’s Engagement in Effective Solid Waste Management in Sri Lanka”. Winifrida dedicates her time to promoting women’s rights and women’s empowerment in her community in Puttalam, north-western Sri Lanka.
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Cecilia Permatasari Ritonga is a 24-year-old criminal investigator from Indonesia serving as First Sergeant Tactical Force with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). In light of this year’s International UN Peacekeepers’ Day, Cecilia shared with us some of the challenges and opportunities that a young woman peacekeeper may encounter during missions, and meaningful roles of women in sustaining international peace and security. "I am extremely proud to contribute to maintaining peace and resolving conflicts as Blue Helmet personnel, particularly when I see women playing roles in the field..."
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We have come a long way, from struggling to manage our own expenses to registering our very own company and employing women workers. It gives me immense joy that many households are prospering because of our work. When someone in need comes to me and I am able to help them, that’s what fulfilment and real joy is. So far I have transformed the lives of 200-250 women. The people who used to criticize me now come and ask how they can improve their income.
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Amena Begam is currently one of the most senior female officials in the Bangladesh Police. Having served as a UN Peacekeeper in East Timor, and currently the Deputy Inspector General of Bangladesh Police and the president of the Bangladesh Police Women Network, she is determined to protect the most vulnerable and to strengthen women’s role in law enforcement.
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Through my peacebuilding work in Sulu, I connect with many different people, especially from conflict-affected and displaced communities. I am fortunate enough to have visited their homes, caught a glimpse of their lives and thus appraised their unique situations, which enables me to support them in a targeted way, and to recognize that there is a chance for peace to work...