Washington DC, 22 March 2023 (TDI): Eleven women were honored with the 2023 International Women of Courage Award at the White House on March 8, for their unwavering efforts towards human rights, rule of law, and gender equality.
The award, given annually by the United States (US) Secretary of State, Antony Blinken acknowledges women from all around the world who advocate for the aforementioned causes, often facing significant personal risks.
To mention, this year’s ceremony marked the first time that it was held at the White House and hosted by First Lady Jill Biden.
The women who received the 2023 International Women of Courage Award and the Madeleine Albright Honorary Group Award fight for different causes but have one thing in common: They refuse to be intimidated. These are their stories. https://t.co/6QU9Eu0ELv
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 21, 2023
For the information, the honorees received recognition for their respective causes, which range from documenting Russia’s aggression in Ukraine to advocating for refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey.
In addition, Secretary Blinken stated that the US is proud to stand with the awardees as they wage numerous battles daily and that they would be supported for the long haul.
Enlisting Human rights champions
The awardees included Yuliia Paievska and Bianka Zalewska, who have called attention to the human toll of the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite facing significant threats, both women continued to supply evidence of atrocities.
Furthermore, Dr. Zakira Hekmat, a champion for refugee protection and asylum in Türkiye, with a particular focus on marginalized communities.
Alba Rueda from Argentina responsible for the Transgender Labor Quota Act executive order was also awarded.
Professor Danièle Darlan, defender of the Central African Republic’s constitution and judicial independence. Doris Ríos is an Indigenous leader from Costa Rica who works to improve the lives of indigenous people.
Meaza Mohammed is an independent journalist from Ethiopia who has covered gender-based violence and human rights violations despite repeated arrests.
Hadeel Abdel Aziz is a human rights activist who supports refugees, migrants, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Jordan.
Bakhytzhan Toregozhina, an activist in Kazakhstan who helped survivors and documented human rights violations during her country’s unrest in 2022.
Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi dedicated her life to supporting the rights of people with disabilities in Malaysia.
Brigadier General Bolor Gandbold was the first woman general in the Mongolian Armed Forces and a champion for women’s leadership in security and peacekeeping operations.
So, these are the exceptional individuals who have made significant contributions to human rights advocacy in their respective countries.
In addition to the 2023 International Women of Courage Award, the State Department also awarded the inaugural Madeleine Albright Honorary Group Award to the Women and Girl Protesters of Iran.
They have spent months protesting the death of Mahsa Amini, despite violent crackdowns by Iranian authorities. Since 2007, the State Department has honored over 180 women in 80 countries.
The U.S. stands in solidarity with women of Iran, who remain undaunted despite the Iranian regime’s brutality. On International Women’s Day, in coordination with allies, we sanctioned additional Iranian officials & companies involved in human rights abuses.https://t.co/HY3CmmrTmV
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 8, 2023
As part of the award, the honorees will join an in-person International Visitor Leadership Program exchange to meet with American counterparts and foster networks of women leaders worldwide.
In a nutshell, First Lady praised the awardees for their courage and encouraged them to continue pursuing justice and peace. The honorees’ significant efforts have no bounds and will continue to inspire and transform those who hear their stories.