International Museum of Women now part of Global Fund for Women

Join us in celebrating women change-makers around the world. At every level in society these women are advancing women's rights, leadership and empowerment. They are mothers, workers, teachers and leaders.

What would you do if your family and society did not support you attending high school?  Or if employers ignored you simply for being a woman? What if the healthcare you needed for your body was treated as unimportant, or worse, sinful? How would you react if societal messages constantly dictated how you should dress, act, or think?

These are stories of women around the world facing these challenges with grace, patience, and creativity. These women walk right up to aggressions—small or large—look them in the eye, stretch out a finger, or a palm, and they push back. They grab their challenges with both hands, molding them into opportunities and change for the women who follow. Today we are celebrating these women, these change makers big and small who are paving the way for women around the world.

International Museum of Women and Global Fund for Women invite you to join us in creating awareness and action for women's rights. Submit your work to our newest online project:

“Once motherhood becomes part of who you are, your perception of the world around you changes. You now need to not only see the world through your eyes but also the eyes of your children.”

--V. Kottavei Williams

Every two minutes, a woman dies from preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

--Every Mother Counts

Pregnant at 13, Etaferaw was in obstructed labor for ten days without medical care before her baby died in delivery. Etaferaw developed fistulas — holes, through which urine and feces pass uncontrollably. 

For seven years Etaferaw was shunned by her community until she came to Hamlin Fistula International Hospital in Ethiopia, where she received fistula surgical treatment. Stories like Etaferaw's  demonstrate the significant strides Ethiopia has made towards eradicating obstetric fistula.

Globally, women are underrepresented at every level of government and corporate leadership. In only 23 countries do women comprise over 30% of their parliament.

--UN Statistical Commission

These women are shifting expectations and images of what it means to be a powerful woman, and to have a voice at the table. 

They are also equipping girls and young women with the education and skills to become future leaders.

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is the executive director and founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning. 

Her organization now runs 40 learning centers, where women and girls are building skills that will help transform the country from the inside out.

Women represent 70 percent of the world’s poor. They are often paid less than men for their work, with the average global wage gap being 17 percent.

--UN Women

The Korean women divers of Jeju Island (known as haenyeo) are unique and rare workers. 

For centuries, they have harvested seaweed and shellfish at depths of 20 meters, holding their breath for as long as two minutes without any equipment other than their rubber suits, masks and nets.

The small loans that these women in Ghana receive allow them to grow their businesses. The difference between earning $2 a day and $2.50 to $3.00 a day can be enormous and the process of receiving a loan and paying it back has a profound psychological impact.

As the UN looks to evaluate the success of its 2015 Millennium Development Goals, we look forward with hope for the future of women's human rights. 

The women featured within this exhibition give us a glimpse of the daily work that must be done to lead us towards gender equality. 

These women show us that, while our work is cut out for us, the future should be a bright one.

Join the movement. 

Submit your creative work on women's human rights to our newest project:

Credits: Story

2014 International Museum of Women, now part of Global Fund for Women

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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