Doctor Sima Samar last week was named to ABC News’ 2002 Top Five “Beating the Odds” List, commending her fight for womens’ rights in Afghanistan. The former Minister of Women’s Affairs and current Chair of the Independent Human Rights Commission, Dr. Samar has been a leader for women’s rights. Despite facing strong political opposition, including death threats from fundamentalists, Samar presses forward. As the director of the Shuhada Organization, she has established twelve clinics and four hospitals for women and children, as well as 55 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her schools serve 32,000 students. Her organization’s programs encompass relief work, literacy education, as well as community education regarding family planning and sanitation.
Also named to the ABC News List was House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the first female party leader in Congress. Staunchly pro-choice with a strong women’s rights voting record, Pelosi has focused on issues of key importance to women, including international family planning, AIDS prevention, human rights in China, and the environmental. Earlier this month, she was among 13 recipients of the Ms. Magazine’s 2002 Women of the Year award.