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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs