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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs