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In the words of Aiman Umarova: “If violence is condemned to silence, that does not mean that it’s not in our lives”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Aiman Umarova is an acclaimed Kazakhstani lawyer and human rights activist who specializes in sexual offences against women and children, and crimes related to violent extremism and torture. She has dedicated her life to fight violence against women, despite facing threats of violence herself. More

In the words of Spartak Kosta: “The media should raise awareness about the issue of trafficking of women and girls”

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Spartak Kosta is a third-year journalism student at the University of History and Philology in Tirana, Albania. He was among the first group of students to take a new university course on the reporting of trafficking of women and girls. The educational course was developed at the recommendation of a UN Women monitoring report. The study finds that journalists often write shallow trafficking stories that lack deep analysis and use unethical language with regards to victims. More

In the words of Maja Balsha: “The ratification of the Istanbul Convention has been crucial for our work on ending violence against women”

Monday, July 23, 2018

Maja Balsha is a social worker specializing in psychosocial work. She is currently working as project coordinator at the NGO, HERA, a partner of the EU–UN Women regional programme, ‘Implementing Norms, Changing Minds’, which aims to end violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey. More

In the words of Alice Bouman Dentener “To make sustainable development a reality, we have to move from vision to action”

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Alice Bouman Dentener is based in The Hague, in the Netherlands and runs her consultancy company Diploria, which provides sustainable development solutions to a variety of clients from both governmental and non-governmental organizations. She recently moderated UN Women’s “Women Water Forum: Bridging Voices to Actions” and contributed to the outcome document ahead of the High-level International Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018-2028 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where she is a member of the International Steering Committee. More

In the words of Retibe Bilal: “Life is beautiful. Resist, set a goal and never stop!”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Retibe Bilal is a Syrian refugee who has lived in Gaziantep, near Turkey’s border with Syria, since 2013. She describes how the SADA Women-only Centre, which provides livelihood skills and psycho-social services to refugee and local women in Gaziantep, helped her build her self-confidence, learn new skills, and transform herself. More

In the words of Sanem Öztürk: “Our aim is to build a strong and enduring solidarity network that brings together women from Turkey and Syria”

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Sanem Öztürk is a sociologist and activist based in Istanbul, Turkey. She has been working for the Women’s Solidarity Foundation (KADAV) since 2011. As part of the ‘Implementing Norms, Changing Minds’ programme, KADAV is partnering with UN Women to build the capacity and maintain a network of Syrian and Turkish women CSOs, to work together to develop tools for combating sexual and gender-based violence within the framework of the Istanbul Convention and CEDAW. More

In the words of Oksana Kononets: “Disability helped me to realize my inner strength”

Monday, March 19, 2018

25-year-old Oksana Kononets had an accident three years ago which resulted in a spinal injury and a disability for life. Last year, she was chosen Miss World Ukraine in a wheelchair. She combines her roles as a model and a social worker through her charity “Unbroken” that helps women with disabilities break stereotypes in modeling and promotes equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. Kononets collaborates with UN Women to raise awareness about the discrimination that women with disabilities face in Ukraine. More

In the words of Zora Celovic: “Being an activist requires full time devotion and a very strong will for all the battles on the way”

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Zora Celovic is a vocal advocate for rural women’s rights and speaks publicly about the issue. She founded the “Priboj Women's Initiative” to help address the discrimination and inequality that rural women in the Priboj area of south-western Serbia faced. In this farming area, where women are often responsible for milk distribution, the initiative also recently benefited from UN Women support to improve their economic opportunities, while also easing their daily workload and expanding their horizons. More

In the words of Kadire Tahiraj: “Sexual violence during the war remains an unpunished crime in Kosovo"

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Kadire Tahiraj is the founder and director of Center for Promotion of Women’s Rights in Drenas, central Kosovo , which has been advocating for the rights of survivors of sexual violence during the war in 1998-1999. Tahiraj’s organization was a partner of UN Women in implementing a grants scheme which provided financial and psychosocial support to survivors. The project, Gender Sensitive Transitional Justice, was implemented in partnership with Kosovo Women’s Network, and funded by the EU. More

In the words of Ketevan Khidasheli: “To counter today’s lack of volunteerism, more female activists are needed”

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ketevan Khidasheli serves as chairperson on the board of the non-governmental organization Women for Regional Development, which provides support to survivors of domestic violence, and has been a women’s rights advocate for more than 10 years. Ms. Khidasheli volunteered for UN Women’s project “Women for Equality, Peace and Development” in 2012, and she recently won the 2017 Kato Mikeladze Award, given annually to the defenders of women’s human rights in Georgia. More

In the words of Ana Vasileva: “We are talking the talk and walking the walk”

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ana Vasileva is a women’s rights activist and a member of the feminist collective, Fight Like a Woman, living and working in Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic (fYR) of Macedonia. She has also contributed to UN Women’s “Not only on March 8th” initiative, which makes a point that gender equality issues should not be in the limelight only once a year, on International Women’s Day, but should be publicly debated consistently. More

In the words of HRH Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite: “We need to encourage girls and young women to pursue science and stay in science careers”

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Her Royal Highness Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite is an Iraqi princess who defied royal protocol and became a medical doctor and a geneticist. Popularly known as the “Science Princess,” she holds advanced degrees in biomedical science, molecular biology, and genetics. She has used her passion and experience as a prominent doctor and scientist to advocate for more women in science and medicine, and for empowering women and girls to follow those paths and fight for equal pay. She is the Executive Director of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT), which is a partner of UN Women in Europe and Central Asia region. More

In the words of Valentina Bodrug-Lungu: “Viewing women primarily through a maternity and family life perspective limits their social and political activism”

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Valentina Bodrug-Lungu is the vice-president of the Gender Equality Platform in the Republic of Moldova, which is a voluntary association of individuals and organizations that act as a unified voice for the promotion of gender equality in the country. She is also the president and founder of Gender-Centru, a non-governmental organization that carries out projects on gender education, combatting domestic violence and preventing and combating discrimination. She helped develop and promote gender... More

In the words of Ülker Şener: “Assisting refugee women to enjoy their basic human rights is of utmost importance”

Monday, January 22, 2018

Ülker Şener is the Head of the Steering Committee for the Women’s Studies Association, a feminist group established in Ankara, Turkey in 2011. As part of the UN Women regional programme “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds”, the Women's Studies Association will work to raise awareness of violence against women among refugees in two Turkish provinces: Mersin and Hatay. More

In the words of Dimitri Tskitishvili: “A traditional society can be more easily persuaded when a man talks about gender equality”

Friday, January 5, 2018

For the past 18 years, Dimitri Tskitishvili has been in politics in Georgia. He saw political participation as a way to bring change, even when he was chair of a youth organization and advocated for gender equality. He is now a Member of Parliament (MP) in Georgia where he is part of the Gender Equality Council, whose strategy has four pillars: research and policy-making; law making; awareness raising; and communication. The Council’s action plan includes fostering economic empowerment, political participation, and social rights legislation. More

In the words of Marai Larasi: “If we are to end violence against women and girls, we need to create seismic shifts across our social norms.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

Marai Larasi is the Executive Director of Imkaan, a black and minority ethnic (BME) women’s organization working to respond to and prevent violence against marginalized women and girls in Europe. Imkaan is now a partner in the EU/UN Women regional programme, ‘Implementing Norms, Changing Minds’, which aims to end violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey. Recently, Ms. Larasi has been supporting the preparation of a guidance note on intersectional issues for UN Women. More

In the words of Mirsada Terzic: “One day something clicked and I felt like I needed to talk”

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A survivor of wartime sexual violence, Mirsada Terzic was displaced from her home town Brcko, close to the Croatian border, after the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. More

In the words of Sanja Pejović: “Applying a gender perspective contributes to the success of military operations”

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Captain Sanja Pejović is the highest-ranking woman officer in the Armed Forces of Montenegro (AF MNE). She is deputy chief of the Sub-centre for Peacekeeping Operations, and a gender equality coordinator for AF MNE. Captain Pejović was the first woman officer to serve in AF MNE. She serves as a regional gender trainer, training military personnel from all over the world, and has actively participated in regional and international projects on the inclusion of gender perspectives in security sector reform. Captain Pejović recently spoke at the Regional Conference "Parliamentarians for gender equality and women's empowerment," organized by UN Women, UNDP, and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in partnership with the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova and with support from the Government of Sweden. More

In the words of Ainuru Altybaeva: “Bride kidnapping is not a tradition, it’s a crime”

Monday, October 9, 2017

Ainuru Altybaeva serves as a Member of Parliament in Kyrgyzstan, and has been an activist for women’s empowerment for over 10 years. She was the initiator of a law on toughening penalties for bride kidnapping, and a vocal participant of the national UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls women’s movement, coordinated and led by UN Women in Kyrgyzstan. More

In the words of Sonja Lokar: “If there are so few women in politics, who will put on the agenda the priorities that affect women’s lives?”

Friday, October 6, 2017

Sonja Lokar is the Executive Director of the Central and Eastern European Network for Gender Issues and has worked with women activists across all social, ethnic, religious and political divides in 21 countries. Lokar recently spoke at the Regional Conference "Parliamentarians for gender equality and women's empowerment," organized by UN Women, UNDP, and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) with the support of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova and in partnership with the Government of Sweden. More

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