International Women’s Day: Courage is Contagious

International Women’s Day: Courage is Contagious

The First Lady Michelle Obama said “Courage is Contagious” as she and Secretary Clinton honored women from around the world at the 2011 International Women of Courage Awards. This year’s event was notable because it was held on the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day.

From speaking out against "so called honor crimes" to fighting for the rights of minority people, these diverse women from Afghanistan, Belarus, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Hungary, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, and Pakistan share a special quality: courage. They are making changes in their own countries to improve the lives of women and girls. Ms. Maria Bashir from Afghanistan risks her life daily to ensure that girls can live free from violence as the Prosecutor General of the Attorney General’s Office in Herate Province. She fights against gender norms, putting her own life at risk, by jailing abusive husbands. Her counterpart in Mexico, Ms. Marisela Morales Ibanez, is fighting dangerous criminals who traffic humans and corrupt the judicial system in Mexico.

Recognizing the importance of international support for these women and others, Goldman Sachs President Lloyd Blankfein pledged his company’s support with a new partnership with the Department of State focused on economic opportunities for women.

Women who have their own money are less likely to stay in violent situations because they are able to take care of themselves and any children. Women business owners from Haiti and Indonesia are among the first group of women to participate in the new program. For more on this program visit the State Department's Website.

Courageous women are doing amazing things. We at MSH commend these women not just today, but every day. Learn more about MSH’s work to empower women at every level of the health system for greater economic impact.

Crystal Lander is the Senior Policy Officer at Management Sciences for Health.

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