The State Department recently honored 12 women who have demonstrated extraordinary courage, strength, and leadership in improving the lives of others and their communities. The 2022 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Awards ceremony was held virtually.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduced each award recipient starting with Rizwana Hasan, a lawyer who has led successful campaigns against commercial shrimp farming that hurt traditional fishermen, and the destruction of ecologically vital wetlands around Dhaka by unscrupulous housing corporations.
Simone Sibilio do Nascimento of Brazil is a prominent prosecutor in Rio de Janeiro who has taken on corruption, militias, and drug trafficking.
Ei Thinzar Maung is a democracy activist in Burma. In 2015, she was imprisoned for organizing a 400-mile march protesting a ban on student unions and teaching in ethnic minority languages.
Josefina Klinger Zúñiga runs an NGO that brings together local fisherman, laborers, and entrepreneurs to support tourism that protects the environment, creates jobs, empowers Afro-Colombians and Indigenous communities.
Taif Sami Mohammed is Iraq’s deputy finance minister and director general of the budget department, and has successfully fought government and budgetary corruption.
After Liberia’s civil wars, in which violence against women was widespread, Facia Boyenoh Harris dedicated herself to reducing gender-based violence and increasing girls’ education and women’s political participation.
Najla Mangoush, Libya’s first woman foreign minister, an expert in conflict resolution, has worked toward a more unified, democratic government.
n Moldova, Doina Gherman, a member of parliament, campaigned for Moldova to ratify the Istanbul Convention, recognizing gender-based violence as a human rights violation.
As a transgender woman, Bhumika Shrestha campaigned for Nepal to add a non-binary option to citizenship documents; in 2007, the supreme court made that change.
In Romania, Carmen Gheorghe fights for the rights of Roma women and girls, a group facing racism and sexism, including child, early, and forced marriages.
Roegchanda Pascoe from Cape Town, South Africa is a community leader who works to reduce organized crime and gender-based violence.
In December 2021, Phạm Đoan Trang was sentenced to nine years in prison in Vietnam for her writing on democracy and human rights. “We condemn her unjust imprisonment and call for her immediate release,” said Secretary Blinken.
“These twelve women are separated by thousands of miles,” said Secretary Blinken, “but they are united in their dedication to serving their countries and communities with extraordinary courage and self-sacrifice. The United States stands with them.”