On March 8, International Women’s Day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama honored ten women from around the world for their advocacy of women’s rights. "They saw corruption, and they worked to expose it. They saw oppression, and they worked to end it. They saw violence, poverty, discrimination, and inequality -- and they decided to use their voices, and risk their lives, to do something about it," said First Lady Michelle Obama.
Afghan provincial council woman Maryam Durani works toward economic equality, while Samar Badawi of Saudi Arabia is preparing legal challenges to laws restricting women's rights to marry, work, or travel without the permission of a male guardian.
Police Major Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo of Brazil has taken on drug gangs and is working to improve health care and education.
Burmese political activist Zin Mar Aung strives to promote democracy and the rights of ethnic minorities and Sudanese human rights activist Hawa Abdhallah is speaking out for the rights of internally displaced civilians from the Darfur region. Turkish parliamentarian Safak Pavey promotes the rights of the physically disabled, women and minorities in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.
Aneesa Ahmed works to eliminate domestic violence in the Maldives, while Hana El Hebshi of Libya helped to properly document the violence of her country's revolution.
Pakistani human rights activist Shad Begum provides political training, education, health services and microcredit facilities to women in one of her country's most conservative districts.
And Jineth Bedoya Lima, an investigative journalist in Colombia, is pushing for justice in unsolved cases of sexual and gender-based violence.
All are working tirelessly to improve the lives of women and girls, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “These women are ... making a difference in the face of adversity, often under the threat of violence that is sometimes hard for those of us here in Washington or across our great country even to imagine. And while we honor them today, we know that tomorrow their work will and must continue, so that every woman and girl someday will have the opportunity to live up to her own God-given potential.”