Women Deliver 100: 1 - 25

Eman AbdElRahman, Egypt
Blogger, Co-Founder of the Kolena Laila (“We are all Laila”) Initiative

Issue: Women’s rights and social media
How she delivers for women
: Cairo-based blogger AbdElRahman is amplifying women’s voices across the Arab world. In 2006, she helped found the Kolena Laila (“We are all Laila”) Initiative, which rallies bloggers across the region to speak out about issues facing women in Arab societies. On one day each year, bloggers publish posts under the title "We are all Laila," describing their experiences, interviewing mothers and sisters, airing frustrations and exposing injustice. The project has attracted over 250 blog posts each year, with contributors from fourteen countries including Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Libya. At only 26, AbdElRahman has built a virtual community fostering Arab women’s self-expression and reflection, both a launching pad and a source of support for the region’s young feminist writers.
Learn more
: http://kolenalaila.com/en/organizers

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Hawa Abdi, Somalia
Ob/gyn, Hospital Director, 2010 Glamour Woman of the Year

Issue: Health, education and security in Somalia
How she delivers for women: Abdi and her two daughters, both also doctors, run one of Somalia’s very few functioning hospitals, providing free health care to women who face a barrage of challenges in this war torn country. Abdi’s hospital has become a rare safe haven, and she supports some 90,000 Somalis ­ mostly women and children ­ on her land, despite intense pressure from the nation’s Islamic militias. Abdi is committed to the education and empowerment of her patients. She has established a school and an adult education center, and, to feed the small city which has grown around her hospital, she has bought fishing boats and even organized family farms. Her title may be simply Doctor, but in Somalia, she is a miracle-worker.
Learn more: http://www.dhaf.org/index.html

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Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Jordan
Queen of Jordan, Founder of Madrasati, Co-Founder and Global Co-Chair for 1GOAL

Queen_Rania.jpgIssue: Girls’ education and empowerment
How she delivers for women
: Jordan’s influential, tech-savvy Queen has leveraged her role in the international spotlight to make a passionate, no-nonsense case for girls’ education worldwide. Her organization, Madrasati, has helped reinvigorate Jordan’s schools, and she co-chairs 1Goal, which campaigns for educational opportunities for children worldwide. Above all, she has been a fierce and articulate champion of girls’ potential, arguing that educating and empowering girls – and preventing early marriage and premature motherhood – sends a positive cascade through societies in the form of economic growth, political stability, and improved health for everyone.
Learn more
: http://www.queenrania.jo/#/home

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Fazle Hasan Abed, Bangladesh

Founder and Chairman of BRAC

Fazle_Hasan_Abed.jpgIssue: Women’s economic empowerment
How he delivers for women
: Abed founded BRAC in 1972 and it has since grown into the world’s largest development agency, working to lift millions of people out of poverty throughout Africa and Asia –particularly women. Abed recognized early on that empowering girls and women is central to alleviating poverty, and women have always provided the backbone of BRAC’s organization – 98 percent of the borrowers in its microfinance programs and more than 95 percent of its volunteers are women. BRAC has enabled over 6 million people to access microfinance through village organizations, usually women-led and women-run, that have disbursed more than $5 billion in micro-loans– helping women start their own businesses, generate income, and invest in their families’ health, nutrition and education. Together, Abed and BRAC have proven that with the right tools, local women can transform their families and communities.
Learn more
: http://www.brac.net/content/leadership-fazle-hasan-abed-founder-chairperson

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Lynsey Addario, United States

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist

Lynsey_Addario_14.jpgIssue: Bearing witness to women’s lives
How she delivers for women: Addario has photographed women across the globe for over a decade, producing haunting and galvanizing images of women’s lives from conflict zones to family homes. Her photography has covered issues ranging from maternal mortality in Sierra Leone to the lives of female soldiers in the US military, from victims of sexual assault in the Congo to the self-immolation of women in Afghanistan. Last year, her images became the face of Women Deliver 2010, reflecting her uncanny ability to capture the strength and diversity of women who are delivering all over the world for their families, communities, and nations. By turns breathtaking and disturbing, her work puts a face to women’s experiences, making it impossible to look away, ignore, or forget.
Learn more
: http://www.lynseyaddario.com/

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Christiane Amanpour, UK
Journalist, Anchor of ABC News's This Week

christiane_amanpour.jpgIssue: Women in the media
How she delivers for women: In her time at CNN, Amanpour rose from an entry-level assistant to chief foreign correspondent, covering nearly every major international story of the past two decades, from the first Gulf War to Hurricane Katrina. She has taken her camera into some of the world’s most dangerous environments, bringing back smart, in-depth stories and exclusive interviews with world leaders, work she has continued as the anchor of ABC’s This Week. Amanpour has used her prominent position in the media to shine a spotlight on the many injustices facing women around the world, from her coverage of women during the Bosnian war to her reports from Afghanistan now. Her fearless reporting has made her both a role model and a voice for women worldwide.
Learn more
: http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/christiane-amanpour-biography-anchor-week-christiane-amanpour/story?id=11208824

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Zainah Anwar, Malaysia
Founding Member of Sisters in Islam, Director of Musawah

Zainah_Anwar.jpgIssue: Gender equality and women’s rights within Islam
How she delivers for women
: Anwar is setting the record straight on women’s rights in Islam. In 1987, she and seven friends founded Sisters in Islam (SIS) to create a public voice of Muslim women demanding equality and justice and to stop the use of Islam to justify laws and practices that discriminate against women. SIS today runs legal clinics for women, petitions for the reform of discriminatory laws, and argues for equal rights within marriage. In 2009, SIS initiated the launch of Musawah, a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. Over 250 activists, scholars and policy makers from 47 countries attended the launch. “For there to be justice in the 21st century, there must be equality. These values must be at the core of what it means to be Muslim today,” Anwar says, and she has dedicated her life to turning those principles into reality.
Learn more
: http://www.sistersinislam.org.my/BM/zainahcolumns.htm

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Michelle Bachelet, Chile
Executive Director of UN Women, Doctor, Former President of Chile

Michelle_Bachelet.jpgIssue: Gender equality and women’s empowerment
How she delivers for women: A lifelong activist who faced political persecution in her youth, Bachelet was the first woman in Latin America to be appointed as Minister of Defense, and eventually rose to become Chile’s first female President in 2006. Bachelet made gender equity a centerpiece of her tenure and she has been an ardent advocate of women’s political, economic and reproductive rights worldwide. In 2010, she became the first head of UN Women, tasked with ratcheting up the UN’s efforts on gender equality and female empowerment worldwide. Given her history, she’s the right woman for the job.
Learn more
: http://www.unwomen.org/about-us/executive-director/

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Marge Berer, United Kingdom
Founder and Editor of Reproductive Health Matters, Chair of the International Consortium for Medical Abortion

Issue: Reproductive health and rights
How she delivers for women
: As founder and editor of the journal Reproductive Health Matters, Berer has provided a crucial forum for researchers and activists working to extend reproductive rights to all. At the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), she helped shift the focus of population and development work away from population control and toward the reproductive rights and needs of individuals – helping launch a global movement promoting women’s reproductive health and rights. Whether she’s assessing new research, blogging about reproductive health, or working to promote safe medical abortion as the Chair of the International Consortium for Medical Abortion, Berer has never been afraid to speak up for the rights and health of the world’s girls and women.
Learn more: http://www.rhmjournal.org.uk/about/editor.php

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Ela Bhatt, India
Founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Co-Founder of Women's World Banking

Ela_Bhatt.jpgIssue: Women’s empowerment and labor rights
How she delivers for women: When it comes to women’s labor, Bhatt is a visionary and a pioneer. Over and over again, she has launched new ways for the poorest and most oppressed women workers to organize and advocate for themselves. In 1972, she founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) to fight the exploitation of self-employed women – the vegetable vendors, weavers, and seamstresses who make up one of the world’s most unprotected labor forces. SEWA has since organized over one million women to fight for labor rights and recognition. Bhatt also helped found Women's World Banking, the world’s largest network of microfinance institutions, which serves more than 23 million clients and offers women necessary financial services including savings, insurance and pension funds. She has empowered millions of women to advocate for themselves, working to ensure that no woman’s work goes unrecognized or unpaid.

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Learn more: http://www.sewa.org

Mabel Bianco, Argentina
Founder and Director of the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (FEIM)

Mabel_Bianco_(2).jpgIssue: Sexual and reproductive rights
How she delivers for women
: Bianco is a doctor, researcher, and reproductive health advocate who revolutionized the Argentinean health system. During Argentina’s years of political instability, women faced tremendous obstacles in accessing quality health care and services. In 1984, Bianco joined the Health Ministry of the newly elected democratic government, where she successfully pushed to lift the national health system’s ban on family planning. She went on to direct the National AIDS Program, where she highlighted women’s vulnerability to HIV infection. Since then, her influence has reached far beyond Latin America. As Director of the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women she became a leading global authority on the study of girls’ and women’s reproductive rights. A true trailblazer, Bianco is making sure that nothing stands between a woman and the care she needs.
Learn more: http://nationalpress.org/programs-and-resources/bios/mabel-bianco/

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Betty Bigombe, Uganda
Chief Mediator and Peace Negotiator, Former Member of Parliament

Issue: Conflict resolution
How she delivers for women: Over the past 18 years, the fearless Bigombe has faced down some of the most ruthless militants in the world to help secure peace and stability for her people. The conflict in Uganda has lasted nearly 25 years, forced more than 1.8 million people into displacement camps, led to the abduction of an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 children, and caused an explosion of sexual violence. Bigombe, a former Ugandan parliamentarian, brokered the first peace negotiations in 1993, and continues to mediate between the parties. Negotiators have called upon her courage and expertise to assist with peace negotiations elsewhere, including in Sudan. Now a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, Bigombe is researching the impact of armed conflict on women and children. Her strength and courage has brought hope to Ugandans, and proven the unimaginable power of women’s leadership worldwide.
Learn more
: http://www.aaionline.org/Alumni/AlumProfiles.aspx?alum=BettyBigombe

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Justine Masika Bihamba, Democratic Republic of Congo
Founder of Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes de Violences Sexuelles (SFVS)

Issue: Women’s rights and violence against women
How she delivers for women
: Bihamba is the founder and coordinator of Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes de Violences Sexuelles (Women’s Synergy for Sexual Violence Victims), a coalition mobilizing women to fight gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. SFVS provides medical care, counseling, legal services and job-skills training to rape survivors, supporting more than 2,200 women in 2009. The organization runs workshops to raise community awareness of the horrific consequences of sexual violence, and “listening houses” where survivors can tell their stories. In 2006, Bihamba and SFVS helped pass a bill increasing penalties for those who commit sexual violence. Though Bihamba and her family have been threatened and brutally attacked in retribution for her work, she has persevered, fighting for the day when sexual violence in the Congo will end, and all perpetrators will be held accountable for their crimes.
Learn more: http://www.maryknollogc.org/regional/africa/Together-with-Africa/womens-synergy-victims-sexual-violence.html

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Sarah Brown, UK
Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance, Former First Lady of the UK, Founder and President of PiggyBankKids

Sarah-Brown-2011.jpgIssue: Maternal and child health
How she delivers for women
: Around the world, a woman dies in childbirth every ninety seconds --and Brown has been a leading force in the global effort to end that tragedy. In 2002, Brown’s 10-day-old daughter died, a personal calamity which drove her into advocacy. As the global patron of the White Ribbon Alliance, she has fought to increase awareness of maternal mortality and funding for maternal and child health. During her husband’s tenure as Prime Minister, she used her public role to speak out on behalf of the millions of women around the world threatened with limited access to maternal health care, bringing their voices to the halls of power. Through her organization PiggyBankKids, she is shining a light on child and youth issues, and she remains a relentless global voice on the injustice of maternal mortality.
Learn more: http://www.whiteribbonalliance.org/globalPatron.cfm

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Christy Turlington Burns, United States
Founder of Every Mother Counts, Model, Maternal Health Advocate, Documentary Filmmaker

Christy-Turlington-Burns.jpgIssue: Maternal and reproductive health
How she delivers for women: Inspired by her own postpartum complication after the birth of her daughter, Turlington Burns has emerged as a courageous advocate for maternal and reproductive health. In 2010, she financed and directed No Woman No Cry, a documentary which features the powerful stories of four at-risk pregnant women around the world. She is bringing new attention to an old issue, and helping raise women’s voices where they’ve been silent too long.
Learn more
: http://www.everymothercounts.org/

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Laura Bush, USA
Former First Lady of the United States, Founder of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health

Laura_Bush.jpgIssue: Women’s health and empowerment
How she delivers for women: Bush has used her place on the international stage to advocate for the rights, health, and education of girls and women, both in the US and around the world. She has raised awareness of and funding for heart disease and breast cancer – two of the top killers of women worldwide – and in 2007, she founded the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health. She has publicly supported women’s reproductive rights despite opposition from many members of her own party. And as First Lady, she spoke out passionately for women’s human rights in Afghanistan, and became a leading voice for global literacy programs, visiting schools around the world to speak on the importance of girls’ education. Through her work, Bush has demonstrated that champions for women’s health and rights transcend borders and party lines, and she has become a powerful voice for women worldwide.
Learn more
: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/first-ladies/laurabush

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Yvonne Chaka Chaka, South Africa
Singer and advocate

YvonneChakaChaka.jpgIssue: Women’s health
How she delivers for women
: Chaka Chaka, Africa’s preeminent songstress, has lent her iconic voice to the fight for women’s health and rights, speaking out about issues from maternal health to HIV/AIDS to girls’ education. Through her charity, the Princess of Africa Foundation, she has raised awareness of women’s role in the fight against malaria, which kills over 2,000 people in Africa every day, the majority of them young children and pregnant mothers. She has reached out to the women who make up a large percentage of frontline health workers, and to mothers, who as primary caretakers can enforce the use of bed nets at home. She has used her pop star status to call on governments to commit to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, and she has been a persuasive, effective voice for Africa’s women and children.
Learn more
: http://princessofafrica.com/yvonne-chaka-chaka

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Hillary Clinton, USA
Secretary of State, Democratic Presidential Candidate in 2008, Former Senator, Former First Lady of the United States

Hillary_Clinton.jpgIssue: Women’s rights and reproductive health
How she delivers for women
: How to summarize what Clinton’s career has meant for women around the world? A prescient advocate for children’s rights and welfare, she became an indispensable champion of gender equality both at work and at home, and a staunch defender of reproductive rights. It is no coincidence that her tenure as First Lady coincided with the passage of seminal policies for American women and children. In 1995 her declaration that “it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights,” at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, electrified the world. Her run for the US Presidency made the prospect of a woman Commander-in-Chief seem not only possible, but inevitable. And in her tenure as Secretary of State she has proven that she doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers, speaking out forcefully on women’s rights. In her long and truly remarkable career, Clinton has been a role model to millions, an indispensable voice, and one of the most relentless advocates for women worldwide.
Learn more: http://www.state.gov/secretary/

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Rebecca Cook, Canada
Chair in International Human Rights Law, University of Toronto

Rebecca_Cook.jpgIssue: Women’s human rights and reproductive health
How she delivers for women: A legal scholar and leading voice on women’s human rights and reproductive health, Cook has forcefully asserted the right of women to control their own bodies. She is credited with laying the foundation for treating access to maternal healthcare as a human right. And her most recent work investigates the ways in which gender stereotypes warp women’s treatment under the law, arguing that such stereotypes violate women’s human rights and proposing ambitious strategies for recognizing and eradicating them worldwide. Cook draws upon her knowledge of the law not only to spotlight gender discrimination, but also to provide practical solutions to overcome it.
Learn more
: http://www.law.utoronto.ca/faculty_content.asp?profile=14&cType=facMembers&itemPath=1/3/4/0/0

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 Juliette Coulibaly, Côte d'Ivoire
Midwife, Maternal Health Advocate

Juliette_Coulibaly.jpgIssue: Maternal health
How she delivers for women
: When translated literally, sage-femme, the French term for midwife, means wise woman, which may just be the best way to describe Coulibaly, a licensed midwife who specializes in public health and has pioneered family planning in Côte d'Ivoire. One in 44 women in Côte d'Ivoire will die from pregnancy-related causes, and Coulibaly has committed to ending this tragedy, pushing to increase the number of trained midwives and the availability of contraceptives countrywide. She helped found the Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Etre Familial, which has led the fight to provide universal, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services in Côte d'Ivoire, and led TCA91, a program promoting the use of contraception. As both an advocate and an instructor of other midwives, Coulibaly has proven herself an indispensable force for women’s reproductive rights in the Côte d'Ivoire.

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Marietou Diarra, Senegal
Community Activist

Issue: Women’s empowerment and female genital cutting
How she delivers for women
: Diarra lost two daughters to “the tradition,” as female genital cutting is called in her native Senegal, and the tragedy drove her to become an anti-cutting activist. Diarra’s first daughter was only three when she died; her second daughter was seven. But a girl who did not undergo “the tradition” faced intolerable social stigma, and it wasn’t until the elder of a neighboring village proposed ending the practice that Diarra and other women could conceive of change – and speak out. In 1998, the 13 intermarrying villages in Diarra’s region decided, together, to end female genital cutting. Then, with help from the nonprofit Tostan, Diarra approached 48 other villages – all of whom abandoned the practice. Her determined grassroots activism and passionate approach to peer-education has proven the power of communities to decide for themselves to put girls first.
Learn more
: http://www.thedailybeast.com/video/item/marietou-diarra-discusses-genital-mutilation

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 Lydia Alpízar Durán, Costa Rica
Executive Director of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

LydiaAlpizarDuran.jpgIssue: Women’s rights
How she delivers for women: “Where is the money for women’s rights?” Durán asked – and then she set out to find an answer. Women’s rights groups have historically been underfunded if they are funded at all, but Durán is committed to finding the resources to sustain the fight for women’s health and rights worldwide. In 2006, Durán managed the AWID initiative that published a ground-breaking study of international funding for women’s rights, and founded programs to help grassroots women’s groups ramp up fundraising. Durán began her work for women’s human rights two decades ago, as a 17-year-old in Costa Rica advocating for women’s rights and the environment, and she co-founded Elige, a major youth network for sexual and reproductive health and rights based in Mexico. Now, Durán is on a mission to put women’s groups in hearts, minds and budgets throughout the world.
Learn more
: http://www.awid.org/About-AWID/Staff

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 Shirin Ebadi, Iran
Human rights lawyer and activist, Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

Shirin_Ebadi.jpgIssue: Women’s rights and gender equality
How she delivers for women
: An internationally recognized human rights advocate, Ebadi has spent decades fighting for the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in Iran. She was one of the first female judges in Iran, until she was stripped of her position after the Islamic Revolution. She then went into private practice, taking up the cases of jailed and persecuted dissidents and often facing persecution and arrest herself. She is one of the founders of the Million Signatures Campaign, which demands an end to discrimination against women in Iranian law. In 2003, she became the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Her unimaginable courage in the face of government repression has made her a leading light in the struggle for women’s equality.
Learn more
: http://www.nobelwomensinitiative.org/about-us/laureates/shirin-ebadi

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Nabila Espanioly, Israel
Peace advocate, Founder and Director of the Pedagogical Center and Multipurpose Women’s Center in Nazareth

Issue: Gender equality and conflict resolution
How she delivers for women
: Espanioly has spent three decades waging peace in Israel and Palestine, fighting for gender equality, civil rights for Israel’s Palestinian minority, and a peaceful, two-state solution to the Middle East conflict. She has brought together Jewish and Palestinian women, founding Jewish-Arabic Women for Peace and co-founding Haifa’s “Women in Black” peace campaign. She founded the Mossawa Center, a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization fighting for equal rights for all of Israel’s citizens. She has broken ground on a wide range of women’s issues, fighting for early childhood education and for women’s empowerment and political participation within Palestinian communities, and has written on everything from women in the media to gender-based violence and sex education. Espanioly has organized against oppression wherever she has found it, and she is delivering for Israel’s Jewish and Palestinian women alike.
Learn more
: http://www.nif.org/about/board-of-directors/

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Mahmoud Fathalla, Egypt
Ob/gyn, Former Dean of the Medical School at Assiut University in Egypt, Former President of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)

Mahmoud_F.Fathalla_.jpgIssue: Reproductive and maternal health
How he delivers for women
: For too long, the question has stood: if we know how to save women’s lives during pregnancy and childbirth – and we do – then why are women still dying? Fathalla’s answer is the one most often quoted: governments do not invest enough in maternal health because “women don’t count.” But for Fathalla, women do count. Over 40 years ago, he went to work in poor, underserved regions of his native Egypt, improving access to reproductive healthcare. In 1987, he helped found the Safe Motherhood Initiative, and electrified professionals worldwide with his video presentation Why Did Mrs. X Die?, which made the case that social barriers like poverty and lack of education are often responsible for maternal deaths. As a leader at both the WHO and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), he worked tirelessly to advance reproductive rights, and to improve doctors’ insight into women’s daily lives. Throughout his long career, Fathalla has never lost sight of the needs of women who risk their own life and health to give birth.
Learn more: http://www.who.int/intellectualproperty/background/members/fathalla/en/

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Photo credits for: Laura Bush; Hillary Clinton; Shirin Ebadi; Queen Rania