An Afghan rapper. The founder of the first primary school for girls in a Kenyan village. A trailblazing member of Congress who fights to create an AIDS-free generation. An advocate for women’s and children’s rights and empowerment.
Tonight in Los Angeles, the Feminist Majority Foundation (publisher of Ms.) will award these four women with its 8th annual Global Women’s Rights Awards, celebrating their hard-fought accomplishments for girls and women on the world stage.
The rapper–considered to be Afghanistan’s first woman at the mic–is Soosan Firooz. Though facing death threats, she continues to use music to speak out against the injustices and violence faced by women and girls in Afghanistan. Through her performance and bravery, Soosan has brought attention to the need for peace-building in Afghanistan. Check out a video report on her.
The school founder is Kakenya Ntaiya, a tireless advocate for the education and empowerment of girls. The first woman in her Kenyan village of Enoosaen to leave and attend college in the U.S., she returned to her homeland in 2009 to establish The Kakenya Center for Excellence, which finally allowed girls in her village to attend primary school there. National Geographic has honored Kakenya as an Emerging Explorer and CNN named her one of its CNN Heroes. Check out her wonderful TEDX talk.
The congressperson is Rep.Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a leading feminist in the House and a critical voice for the world’s women and girls, who remain disproportionately affected by the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Lee conceived of and co-authored the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act.
And the advocate for women’s and children’s human rights is Cheryl Saban, who was recently a member of the U.S. delegation to the 57th U.N. Commission on the Status of Women and was appointed by President Obama to be the U.S. representative to the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Saban–a psychologist, author and philanthropist–has just announced a groundbreaking partnership between UN Women and her Women’s Self Worth Foundation to work for women’s empowerment and gender equality.
We’ll be live-tweeting from the event tonight @msmagazine under the hashtag #fmfgala. Join us for a discussion with these amazing women and FMF president Eleanor Smeal!