Stories

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Stela Tanellari is the Deputy Director and Reintegration Programme Manager of Different and Equal, an organisation in Albania that provides services for women survivors of violence. It has developed a complex approach for women’s economic reintegration under UN Women’s regional programme on ending violence against women “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds,” funded by the European Union.
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Melek El Ahmed, 38, moved to Turkey with her husband and two children in 2013. Having been exposed to some forms of violence in the past, she now advocates for her rights as a woman and prioritizes bringing up her children as equals. In her story, she highlights how discrimination between girls and boys creates a base for violence from a young age, while also sharing what parents can do to leave no space for future violence.
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Müge Yamanyılmaz is the project manager of “Support to Life,” a humanitarian organization promoting basic human rights and needs in rural communities since 2005.
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Based in Şanlıurfa, a city located in southeastern Turkey, Hülya İnan has coordinated the “I am a woman, I have rights” workshops for more than 60 rural women. Within these workshops, organized with the support of the UN Women regional programme “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds,” funded by the European Union, women learn about their rights and how to assert them.
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Rafif Hamami is a 36-year-old Syrian refugee who has been living in Izmir, on the western coast of Turkey, with her husband and son since 2014. She explains how the MUDEM Refugee Support Centre (MUDEM-RSC), one of UN Women’s partners in empowering Syrian refugee and local women, helped her build self-confidence, take up new skills and develop existing ones to hold onto life.
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Emel Huseyin, 33, fled the war in Syria with her mother and sister in 2014 and moved to Izmir in western Turkey. She overcame severe psychological problems with the help of others and now wants to support those with similar needs. After learning Turkish and getting her life together, she participated in MUDEM Refugee Centre’s (MUDEM-RSC) vocational training. Here she found the strength to help other refugee women through the Home to Home Solidarity Programme, which is funded by the Government of Japan and implemented by UN Women in partnership with MUDEM-RSC.
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Tenzila Sejmenović*, 52 years old, from Zenica, a city located in the center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, suffered from physical and psychological violence for 15 years. Alone with her two children, she decided to report the violence and ask for support from the state institutions. Faced with a slow, time-consuming process, she struggled to get the help she needed.
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My main goal is to help people understand and accept human rights and gender equality through art. Equal rights will help people nurture their skills and talents to build a better life without fear of being left behind in many ways – to make independent career choices, be promoted for talents, ask for help, be weak, or be strong, without criticism from the community.
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Bojana Jovanovska is a project coordinator at the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (HCHR), one of the most active organizations in promoting the human rights of all vulnerable groups in North Macedonia. For the last five years, the organization has been a partner of the EU-UN Women regional programme “Ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey: Implementing Norms, Changing Minds”.
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Women’s leadership is at the forefront of unfolding discussions at the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment, the 65th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, from 15 to 26 March. UN Women brings inspiring voices of women leaders from around the world
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Professor Aşkın Asan is a member of the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO). Previously, Professor Asan was the Deputy Minister of Family and Social Policies in Turkey.
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Ana Peláez Narváez is the first woman with disabilities elected as a member of the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
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Ana Šaćipović is a social worker from Serbia who advocates for the rights of Roma women, fighting prejudice and discrimination. In 2005, she founded the Osvit (Dawn) Roma Association, an NGO which supports and promotes women's interests throughout the community and beyond.
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Nahla Haidar is a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). She has over 30 years of professional experience mainly within the United Nations System, ranging from social development, to relief coordination, to peace-building and human rights. Ms. Haidar is CEDAW’s rapporteur on reprisals and covers cases on women human rights defenders. For Women Human Rights Defenders Day, Ms. Haidar explains how the Committee addresses these cases, the regression in women’s rights and some challenges brought by the pandemic.
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Around 100 participants – representatives of ministries and civil society, researchers and activists – from the Western Balkans and Turkey discussed strategies and interventions to reduce violence against women from rural areas within the webinar “Intersectional solutions to eliminate violence against women and girls in rural areas,” on the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women, October 15.
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On 20 October, women’s rights advocates and feminist activists from Central Asia are coming together in a virtual consultation to assess the progress achieved towards commitments made in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most visionary agenda for the human rights of women and girls.
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UN Women Ukraine plans to award small grants to eligible civil society organizations (CSOs) in the range of USD 2,500 to USD 20,000. Small grants are intended exclusively to finance a limited range of eligible activities to develop or strengthen the institutional capacities of women-led and human rights CSOs.
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A series of online seminars in Montenegro and Serbia aimed to raise awareness among police, social protection and judiciary representatives about how to prevent the neglect of violence against women cases under emergency and restrictive measures, such as those enacted during COVID-19.
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In a statement released today on the 75th anniversary of the UN Charter, UN Women Executive Director stressed, "The words of the Charter resonate now more strongly than ever before. They reiterate our shared work across all parts of the UN ‘to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom’. Today we in UN Women recall and recommit to those aspirations, as we build back better from the consequences of conflict and coronavirus, and engage in concerted efforts for equality and racial justice in all segments of society and in all sectors." 
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Olena Hryhoriak is a feminist and LGBTI activist who fights discrimination and hate crime. As a regional coordinator of the LGBTI organization Insight in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine, Olena promotes safe, positive, and inclusive environments for all.