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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid