10 women who have pledged for parity this International Women’s Day

Today on International Women’s Day, we look at some of the women from within the One Young World community making an impact in the pledge for parity.

Meghan Markle 

[[[ image 2-small left]]]"Across the board, a lot of the decision makers are men. We need men to stand up and empower women. At the end of the day, I think what scares people is the idea that female empowerment is threatening. No it’s not. You empower the women, you’re empowering the community."

Aside from being a star on the hit series Suits, Markle has always been involved with the world of politics and humanitarian issues. She is a UN Women Advocate for Women’s Leadership & Political Participation and discusses gender equality on a global level, working to eradicate gender discrimination.

Fatima Bhutto  

[[[image 3-small left]]]"I don’t accept that there’s something different about men and women. If we remove gender from the equation, how do we judge each other? We ought to judge by practice, not by sex. I don’t feel gender matters at all, it gets subsumed by power."

A journalist and author, Fatima writes on topics ranging from first-hand accounts from survivors of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan to the Israeli Invasion. Gender parity is part of her every day work, and she aims to bring a voice to women through it.  

Hope Solo 

[[[image 4- small left]]]"40% of professional athletes in America are women yet we still have a ton of challenges. Our Women’s World Cup was played on turf- you would never imagine a men’s game played on turf. We filled our stadiums, had 22 million viewers, and received next to no marketing money."

An American soccer goalkeeper, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a World Cup gold medalist, Hope has been goalkeeping for the United States women's national soccer team since 2000. Solo is regarded as one of the top female goalkeepers in the world. 

President Ameenah Gurib- Fakim 

[[[image 5-small left]]]"We see many girls wanting to do science and when they go to school they find that the books they look at, they hardly see any women scientists being portrayed, so the stereotyping is starting at a very young age."

President Gurib- Fakim is a Mauritian biodiversity scientist who serves as President of Mauritius. She is the first woman elected President of the country and is the third woman to serve as Head of State. She is currently the Managing Director of CIDP Research & Innovation where she devotes her time to research the medical and nutritive implications of indigenous plants of Mauritius.

Liya Kebede

[[[image 6- small left]]]"Maternal health is not prioritised. It’s been happening forever, and it happens everywhere. Most women that are dying, are dying from causes that are preventable and treatable."

Liya has served as the WHO's Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health since 2005. She founded the Liya Kebede Foundation, where she continues to work to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality in Ethiopia and around the world through awareness-raising projects, low-cost technologies, community-based education, and training and medical programs. 

Ilwad Elman 

[[[image 7- small left]]]"No single instrument addresses gender based violence in an unambiguous, comprehensive, legally-binding manner. I will continue to advocate for justice and social reform because 1 in 3 women will be raped in her lifetime."

Through Sister Somalia, the first rape crisis center in Mogadishu, Ilwad has helped over 2,000 women and girls rebuild their lives by providing emergency medical care, shelter, education and business start-up grants. This week, Ilwad received an award from Oxfam America in recognition of her work for taking an active, leading role on gender based violence.

Lina Khalifeh

[[[image 8- small left]]]"The fact that we have trained 10,000 women all over Jordan and the Middle East shows you how scared women are. Women should not live in fear."

Lina founded SheFighter- the first and only self-defence studio for women in the Middle East. Lina aims to combat the high rates of domestic abuse in the country as 20% of women under 20 are victims of violence. SheFighter has trained and empowered 10,000 women. Lina participated in both an Expert Meeting at the United Nations in Geneva and a forum at the European Parliament to speak about violence against women in the Middle East.

Saairah Farooq
[[[image 9- small left]]] "Women are killed in the name of honour if they ever try to raise their voice for basic human rights in Pakistan. This is what drove me to play my part in standing up for women."

Saairah is a founding member of the women’s movement in Pakistan. Only 2% of women work in corporations in Pakistan. As an accountant at Pepsico, Saairah uses her role to promote education for women. She was instrumental in setting up child care facilities at her work, so women who do come to work can stay there, otherwise 70% of women stop working after marriage. 

Kamolnan Chearavanont 

[[[image 10- small left]]]"We must challenge governments to provide the love and security that we all know of. Let’s not just teach them justice, but show our generation and future generations what justice really looks like."

Kamolnan co- founded Voices organization with the aim of providing education for children and women, specifically those who had suffered abuse as lack of protection afforded to stateless people is the root of many problems. Voices supports a shelter for stateless women and children in Northern Thailand, providing funding, medical resources and educational materials.

Esther Marshall

[[[image 11- small left]]]"If my experience so far has taught me anything, it’s this: don’t be afraid to take a risk to make a positive difference. Find that place of passion, and find your purpose."

Esther’s passion and purpose is to help women find their voice. While at the One Young World Summit 2015, she announced the launch of StandTall - a web based platform that seeks to protect and help women worldwide that are being abused or have been abused in order to empower them once again. They work with NGOs to bring safety and equality to women and girls.