Human rights are a simple, yet controversial topic, and have been for centuries. What should we be allowed to do? Should gender play a factor? Luckily for those of us living in America and other leading countries, equality has been reached in various areas when it comes to rights (although, check out our other blog on women’s rights to see where we still need some work). But, while many of us may take our human rights for granted, we should take a moment to stop and think about those who paved the way for us to live the lives we live - specifically, 3 women’s activists who have changed the game for females across the globe.
Edna Adan Ismail, a Somalian nurse fought against all odds to provide healthcare education and speak out against female genitle mutilation (unfpa, 2017). “She was one of the first women in Somalia to become a nurse and midwife, to obtain a driver’s license and to gain a leadership position in the health system” (unfpa, 2017). In her country, she witnessed harsh gender discrimination against women, and Somalia has one of the highest numbers of maternal deaths in the world (unfpa, 2017). This spurred her to open a maternal and teaching hospital to fight against these numbers, and to educate people on women’s health (unfpa, 2017). In addition, she even began a university to spread education further. This drive and determination lead her to receive the French Legion of Honour. She has paved the way for not only women’s health, but women’s education as well.
Tanzila Khan is a 26 year old writer, artist, and youth/disability rights advocate (unfpa, 2017). Khan published her first book at only 16, which discussed her experience with having a disability and how it actually gave her confidence (unfpa, 2017). She began advocating for disabled rights and taught people about their sexual and reproductive rights (unfpa, 2017). Lastly, Khan “founded a production company for young artists and became a motivational speaker, encouraging youth to seize their rights and make change” (unfpa, 2017). She exemplifies the idea of embracing who you are, and standing up for what you believe in.
Last but certainly not least, is Marijana Savic, the founder of the NGO Atina; a “safe house” for victims of trafficking and violence (unfpa, 2017). A Yugoslavian native, Savic witnessed the harsh realities for women and girls in her country and sought to provide support and justice to those affected. NGO Atina does not only open their arms to women, but children and men as well. This program “provides psychosocial, legal and medical assistance” to these victims and helps them get back on their feet (unfpa, 2017). It is women like Savic that break out of the darkness and bring light to so many lives.
The world needs more people like all three of these incredible women. They have brought safety, knowledge, and a voice to those who need it most. Without women’s activists (and any activist for that matter), where would we be? What would our world look like? What would change? We are lucky to not have to know that answer, as activists like Ismail, Khan, and Savic continue to make a difference and make our world a better place.