International Women’s Day: fearless, female and a force to be reckoned with

  • @gillian_orr

Hey ladies, it’s our day today. Some might say that half the population need more than just 24 hours... and we’d agree. But with global events shedding light on women’s rights, and Michelle Obama recognising extraordinary heroines, it’s a small step in the right direction.

Since 2007 the US Department of State has honoured extraordinary women with the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award every year on International Women’s Day.

Today 10 women will receive the award in Washington DC, to be presented by John Kerry and Michelle Obama.

The award recognises “women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk”. Honourees this year include a Somali peace activist, a Russian journalist, a Tibetan poet, a Nigerian women’s rights campaigner, an Egyptian protester, an Afghan law enforcement sergeant and a Honduran political campaigner.

Three will be absent from today’s proceedings: Ta Phong Tan, a Vietnamese political blogger serving a 10-year prison sentence; Razan Zaitouneh, a human-rights lawyer who was forced into hiding by the Syrian government, which accused her of being a foreign agent for reporting atrocities against civilians on the internet and to foreign media; and Nirbhaya or “Fearless”, the murdered 23-year-old victim of the Delhi bus gang rape.