News / USA

US State Department to Recognize 9 'Women of Courage'

VOA News
The United States is marking International Women's Day by honoring nine female activists from around the world who have shown "exceptional courage and leadership" in advocating for women's rights and empowerment.

Secretary of State John Kerry and first lady Michelle Obama will preside over the "Women of Courage" ceremony Friday at the U.S. State Department.

Among those being honored are First Sergeant Malalai Bahaduri, the first female member of Afghanistan's National Interdiction Unit. The State Department says despite her achievements at the counter-narcotics law enforcement agency, the mother of three has experienced death threats, physical abuse, and social bias as a result of her career choice.

Prominent Tibetan author Tsering Woeser is also being recognized for speaking out publicly about human rights conditions for China's Tibetan citizens. Woeser is regularly under state surveillance and placed under house arrest by Beijing. She is not able to attend the ceremony because Chinese authorities denied her a passport.

Female human rights activists from Honduras, Nigeria, Russia, Somalia, Syria and Vietnam will also receive awards at the ceremony, which has been held every year since 2007.

Julieta Castellanos, rector at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, is being honored for her work on a reconciliation committee that helped her country recover from violent political polarization following a coup.

A Nigerian activist, Dr. Josephine Obiajulu Odumakin, is being praised for leading a campaign against state-sanctioned violence against women. She was arrested and detained 17 times during the rule of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, who left office in 1993.

Russian investigative journalist Elena Milashina is also being recognized. The State Department says Milashina covered some of Russia's most controversial subjects, such as drug trafficking and the killing of journalists, with "passion, fairness, and dedication." She has also received death threats from government officials and corporations.

Somali peace activist Fartuun Adan is being cited for advocating education as an alternative to perpetual violence in her country. She and her husband are known for coining the popular Somali peace mantra "Put down the gun and pick up the pen."

Razan Zeitunah is not able to attend the ceremony. She has been in hiding for 22 months after the Syrian government accused her of being a foreign agent for reporting on violence against civilians during the country's civil war. She is a leading voice of the Syrian opposition and a founder of the Local Coordination Committees.

Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan will also be unable to receive her award in person, as she is serving a 10-year prison sentence for criticizing her country's ruling Communist Party.

The 23-year-old Indian victim of who died in December following a brutal gang rape in Delhi will be honored posthumously. The woman, known to the world as "Nirbhaya" or "Fearless," inspired nationwide protests in India calling for the protection of women.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon mentioned Nirbhaya's case in a statement to mark the International Women's Day. Ban said the world must convert its outrage over such incidents into action to prevent violence against women. He said the issue of sexual violence must be a priority in all U.N. peacekeeping activities.

A joint statement by the World Food Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and two other intergovernmental agencies highlighted the link between women, violence and food security. The statement urged the world to do more to protect women against gender discrimination and domestic violence, which it said often lead to malnutrition and disempowerment.

World Women's Day events

  • A family takes part in a rally to mark the World Women's Day, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 8, 2013. 
  • Indian women watch a play about sexual abuse and ways to raise their voice against it on International Women's Day, in New Delhi, India, March 8, 2013.
  • Women take part in a drumming session to protest violence against women and children, Johannesburg, South Africa, March 8, 2013. 
  • Turkish Kurdish women protest domestic violence against women, war and discrimination as they march to commemorate the International Women's Day in Ankara, Turkey, March 8, 2013.
  • Women wave a flag showing pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, the only woman that ruled Egypt, and anti-Muslim Brotherhood banners during a demonstration to mark International Women's Day, Cairo, Egypt, March 8, 2013.
  • Two women attend a boxing workshop of the Boxgirls Berlin  to mark the International Womens Day, Berlin, Germany, March 8, 2013. 
  • Protesters clash with police as they try to march closer to the U.S. Embassy to commemorate International Women's Day, Manila, Philippines, March 8, 2013.
  • Women laborers work to lay a cable for an electricity company on International Women's Day in Ahmadabad, India, March 8, 2013. 
  • A female activist from Amnesty International with a target and a faceless mask lays on the ground during a demonstration marking International Women's Day, Berlin, Germany, March 8, 2013.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin poses with workers of the Vologda textile factory on the eve of International Women's Day, Vologda, Russia, March 7, 2013. 

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: releggneh
March 08, 2013 7:31 PM
The media won't tell you that they had 10 women picked for the award until they found out she is anti-America.....The State Department came this close to honoring a woman who may be seriously anti-American.

Samira Ibrahim was scheduled to receive the International Women of Courage award today in honor of her actions during Egypt’s uprising, but within hours of the presentation, the State Department held back after finding out its honoree may have quoted Hitler on Twitter and even celebrated attacks against America.

One of Ibrahim’s tweets reads, “Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May every year come with America burning.” Another reads, “An explosion on a bus carrying Israelis in Burgas airport in Bulgaria on the Black Sea. Today is a very sweet day with a lot of very sweet news.”

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid