Continuously supporting women’s rights, health and education
‘Women’s eNews,’ US online news service covering women’s issues, announced its ’21 Leaders for 21st Century 2014’ that they select every 1st of January. Every year Women’s eNews picks three unique themes and finds a total of 21 leaders including 1 male in each field. Diverse people have been selected from globally renowned leaders to hidden figures who have put an effort locally.
Seven who amplified women’s power
Following last year’s Michelle Bachelet, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the former deputy president of South Africa became the executive director of UN Women. She took the post responsible for the empowerment of women worldwide. Her top priority is “women’s economic empowerment.”
First US ambassador for women’s interests and Hilary Clinton’s longtime confidant, Melanne Verveer is a celebrated female leader already recognized simply by her name. After resigning from the ambassador position, as the executive director of the ‘Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security’(GIWPS), she is taking the lead and developing leadership toward securing women's roles in peace building and security across the globe.
CEO of Boston Community Capital (BCC), Elyse Cherry manages a financial institution dedicated for the disadvantaged by investing more than $900 million in low-income community development, social entrepreneurship and more. Moreover, she spared no expense for the child care centers for children of low-income single mothers and for the ‘Head Start’ program (US federal government program that provides infant services to low-income children).
Apart from this, artist Lynne Hershman Lesson who directed the documentary film “Women, Art, Revolution” that won the grand prize at the 2013 Festival of Film on Art in Montreal, donor-activist Emily Nielson Jones who is striving to transform the patriarchal structure of Christianity, Winsome McIntosh who is supporting women’s rise in political power structure through her family foundation ‘McIntosh Foundation’, and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner who is the co-founder of the site ‘MomsRising.org’ that works to secure the rights and interests of working moms were chosen as the leaders of the particular areas.
Seven who speak across our generations
Shelly Esque who broke the glass ceiling of the male dominated tech world, has been proceeding various women-related business while directing Intel’s social contribution business group as the president of the Intel Foundation. 5 years ago, she launched the ‘Intel Girls and Women Initiative’, helping millions of women and girls around the world to have access to education as well as inspiring them to pursue a career in science and technology.
Photojournalist Paolo Gianturco documented women's lives in 55 countries from Nepalese trekkers to activist grandmothers during her 35-year career in photojournalism. In addition, the photos are published as luscious coffee-table books, with 100 percent of the author royalties donated to organizations committed to improving the lives of women and girls.
This year’s male leader is the founder of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. As the direct descendant of the 19th century pioneer of the anti-slavery movement Frederick Douglass and 20th century African-American educator Booker T. Washington, he has been taking initiative in the expulsion of human trafficking also known as ‘21st century slave system’ and in the implement of women rights education.
Heather Arnet who produced the documentary “Madame Presidentá: Why Not U.S.?” that suggested US’ possibility for a female president, Lynn Grefe who is helping women and adolescents experiencing eating disorder as the president of the ‘National Eating Disorders Association’, Denise Restauri who is the founder of the social networking site ‘GirlQuake’ that is the platform for women to share their stories worldwide, and Reshma Saujani who is the founder of ‘Girls Who Code’ which is an NGO for women in the computer and technology area were included in the list.
Seven who helped women’s health leap forward
Zainab Hawa Bangura is currently fighting to increase the safety of women during conflict as the United Nations special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict. As former foreign minister of Sierra Leone, a nation that underwent a decade-long civil war, knows better than anyone else of the dangers women face in conflict of sexual violence. She emphasized that “education is the golden key […] to the empowerment of women” and plans to make an effort for African women’s education with the UN.
The Avon Foundation which Carol Kurzig is the president of, is the first organization to start the breast cancer campaign 20 years ago. In 2004 she joined the Avon Foundation, showed her ability for fundraising and expanded the aid project to domestic violence. The “Speak Out against Domestic Violence” initiative is now conducted by over 50 Avon markets around the world, and during the U.N.'s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, the Avon Foundation launched a groundbreaking global social media campaign in 26 countries.
The US stand-up comic Jennifer Rawlings who wanted to witness the war herself, traveled to war zones to entertain the troops, having done over 300 shows around the world. She went further on and started an antiwar movement by returning with stories from her travels and incorporating them into her theater show.
Above this, Carmen Barroso who took initiative in protecting women’s reproductive rights, Kimarie Bugg who is educating black women about breastfeeding, Jill Sheffield who is striving to drop maternal mortality and expand contraception worldwide, and Maysoon Zayid who is an innovative Muslim female comedian supporting Palestinian women and children with disabilities were selected as women who carried our health forward.