In the Islamic state of Mauritania, women who have been raped often end up in prison. About 60 percent of women who come forward with allegations of sexual violence are accused of Zina, or a crime against morality. It is therefore unsurprising that most choose to remain silent. Fatima M'Baye, the first female lawyer in Mauritania, is part of the movement to blunt the harsher aspects of Sharia, and also help women overturn their convictions.
Kakenya Ntaiya had a dream: to become a teacher. On the way to achieving it, she has had to overcome obstacles and make tough compromises. But, after becoming the first girl from her Maasai village to attend college, she has opened a path for other young girls achieve their dreams.
Midwives in Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state, represent the front line in a nationwide battle to improve the lives of women. They are helping to reduce domestic violence and improve education, while also working hard to maintain a maternal mortality rate of close to zero.
Sampat Pal is a campaigner with a mission: to ensure that those born into the lowest caste have an education, avoid child marriages, and earn a decent wage. But, while Mahatma Gandhi famously preached non-violence, Pal believes that India's long history of patriarchy, abuse, and corruption demands a new style of justice.
The Tokyo International Conference on African Development is more than just a conference. It has become a major global framework for Asia, Africa, and the UNDP to collaborate in promoting Africa's development. Here are five projects working to improve people's everyday lives throughout the continent. Produced by UNDP.
Women in rural China have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Wu Qing at the Development Center for Rural Women believes that empowering women with the idea of equality, giving them out-of-home work skills, and instilling them with a sense of social responsibility will increase their feeling of self-worth and improve their quality of life. To plant the desire for knowledge, the center also started a grassroots literacy program.
In the town of Iqaluit in the far north of Canada, domestic violence is a serious problem. But Arctic women are supporting each other at Qimaavik, a safe haven for abused women and children. Through peer support and counseling, they are rebuilding their self-esteem and healing wounded spirits.
Australia's aid program in East Timor has a strong gender focus. One example of this is in the justice sector, where AusAID is supporting civil society organizations that address violence against women and improve access to information and services.