Chanda Kochhar – “The sky’s the limit”

Cross-posted from UN Women

Chanda Kochhar en

In 2014, Chanda Kochhar, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ICICI Bank Limited, India’s largest private sector bank and the second-largest bank in the country, was named among Fortune’s 50 most powerful women in business for the fourth consecutive year.

She is widely recognized for her role in shaping the retail banking sector in India and for her leadership of the ICICI Group, as well as her contributions to various forums in India and globally.

“When it comes to women in leadership roles, I think India is more evolved than is generally recognized. Things have changed substantially here over the last 30 years. When I started my career, I think the whole perspective toward women leaders was definitely different from what it is today.”  Read More »

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Trinidadian women gain ground at the ballot box

Cross-posted from UN Women

Trinidad and Tobago

Gloria Calliste, candidate for Councillor, local government, walking in her constituency. Photo: The Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

With support from UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, the Network of NGOs in Trinidad and Tobago is training women to be more effective in running for election. They seek to learn the rules, use the rules and change the system.

Like a DJ, she stands aboard the campaign truck, microphone in hand, singing along “we’re ready” and dancing to soca, calypso and dancehall rhythms, popular even during elections in Trinidad and Tobago.

Campaigning isn’t always so much fun. “We go to every single house. Sometimes we meet up with unfriendly dogs; sometimes we have to cross ditches and have boots on to make sure we don’t slip in the mud,” says 51-year-old dentist and now local councillor Hilary Bernard.  Read More »

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Innovative campaign tackles soccer and violence against women together

Cross-posted from UN Women

During the FIFA World Cup, one million stickers that read “O valente não é violento” (“The brave are not violent”) are being distributed throughout Brazil. Each includes one of ten different soccer-related puns in Portuguese, which aim to educate soccer fans about the responsibility men should take to end violence against women and to combat gender stereotypes.

Across the 12 Brazilian host cities in five regions of the country, tens of thousands of people gather in ‘FanFests’ to watch the matches on large screens. Volunteers approach these fans with the stickers as part of “The brave are not violent” initiative. It was launched in 2013 in nine Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela), under the umbrella of the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign, coordinated by UN Women on behalf of the UN System. The soccer-related campaign seeks to engage men in the fight to end violence against women and girls.   Read More »

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Maha Almuneef – Breaking stereotypes, reaching goals

Cross-posted from UN Women

Maha Almuneef

Maha Almuneef, a 53-year-old mother of three living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is a Board-certified physician with a vision: ending violence against women. Maha, undeterred by the traditional image of a woman’s place in society, earned her medical degree and established the National Family Safety Program (NFSP), the first specialized institution to address the issue of domestic violence in the country.

As Executive Director of NFSP, she focuses her attention on prevention programmes and training of professionals, such as police or lawyers, in improving support for survivors of violence. The NFSP also provides counselling and referral services, and manages the Saudi Child Helpline dedicated to delivering counselling for children, who have been subjected to abuse, and their caregivers. Advocating for the recently-adopted “Protection from Abuse” law that criminalizes domestic violence was Maha’s passion project. She received a prestigious award from President Barack Obama this year, making her a strong role model for the women of her country.  Read More »

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A brave crusader, opening many doors

Cross-posted from UN Women

Georgina Beyer

A true force of nature: this is how she is popularly known. Braving criticism and challenging discrimination and stereotypes, Georgina Beyer paved a new path when she became the world’s first openly transsexual mayor in 1995, as well as the first openly transsexual Member of Parliament (MP) in 2000. A long-standing human rights advocate, her legacy includes a long and powerful list of legislative reform.

Step by step, she worked with various marginalized and vulnerable groups, starting with indigenous groups that contributed to drafting one of the first bills for equitable natural resource management. She then played a key role in the passage of the Prostitution Law Reform in 2003, guaranteeing protection for minors and health services for all sex workers. Another agenda of hers, considered a first of its kind,  was to get lawmakers on-board to sign into force a statement making gender identity protection explicit under New Zealand’s human rights bill, as well as advocating for the Civil Union bill, which was passed towards the end of her time as an MP in 2007.  Read More »

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