Food & Hunger: A promising study on nutrition #GlobalGoals #SDGs #Nutrition

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About 40 percent of children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa are stunted, or short for their age, a result of problems such as chronically poor nutrition, inadequate maternal and child care, and repeated bouts of infectious disease. A new study has found that a broad effort to address the problem — like that used by the Millennium Villages Project — that includes improved farming techniques and diet, better access to health care, disease control and other services may help reduce the problem. In this video, the researchers explain their work.

Watch Video Here

Zero Poverty: Ending Extreme Poverty … in a Generation #2030Now #GlobalGoals #SDGs #Poverty #ZeroPoverty

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The Zero Poverty Project

1.3 billion people in our world currently live in extreme poverty.

From The Global Poverty Project:

These 1,300,000,000 individuals live on less than what you can buy in the US for $1.25 per day. You might think this buys more in a poor country than it does here, but actually, it’s a figure that’s been adjusted for purchasing power, which means that anywhere in the world, the $1.25 a day measure buys little more than enough basic food, clean water and cooking fuel to make two simple meals.

In the last 30 years, the proportion of the world’s population that live below this line has halved – from 52% in 1980, to 25% today. That’s a decline from 1.9 billion people down to 1.3 billion people.

At the Global Poverty Project we’re passionate about communicating these amazing achievements, and highlighting the opportunity we have to bring this number down to zero – within a generation.

This post summarizes how we can each play a part in realizing this opportunity – moving a world without extreme poverty from its current status of ‘improbable possibility’, to ‘likely reality’. This list is designed to introduce you to the key themes and issues related to ending extreme poverty.

How we think about extreme poverty

We know ending extreme poverty is a big and complex challenge. It has many causes, and there’s certainly no silver bullet or single solution, but we don’t think that this complexity means the challenge cannot be overcome. There are a huge number of smart and talented people all over the world in charities, business, academia, evaluation organisations,government and think-tanks who are building an evidence base of things that work, things that don’t and why.

The big three issues

To see an end to extreme poverty, there are three big issues that we need to see action on – governance, aid and trade. We know that we have the resources (economic, social, political and environmental) to see an end to extreme poverty. But, right now, the world works in a way that keeps some people poor, which is what we all need to focus on to see an end to extreme poverty.

Improving governance structures can ensure that decision-making works in favour of the world’s poorest people. At present, most discussions about governance are framed in terms of corruption. Rather than treating the problem of corruption as an excuse to stop investing in development efforts, we need to get behind those working in communities to counter corruption: by holding local leaders to account, increasing transparency, and ensuring that laws are applied. Corruption is not only a problem that needs to be tackled in poor countries. In rich countries we need to hold governments and businesses to account for any complicity in the process of corruption, or for unethically undermining poverty reduction through actions like avoiding tax or utilising vulture funds to recover illegitimate debts. We’ve posted more about corruption here, including an interview with leading experts here, or you can see the work being done by corruption-fighting organisations like Global Witness and Transparency International.

Next, we need to make sure that aid that’s given – whether through donations to charities or taxes to government – is spent on programs that really work. Foreign aid won’t end poverty – but it’s a vital ingredient that can be used to make investments in things like health, education and infrastructure – resources needed for countries and communities to lift themselves out of poverty and prevent dependence on aid in the future. We’ve written more about good aid here, here and here.

Ultimately, extreme poverty ends when local communities can trade their way to a better future. The amazing poverty alleviation that we’ve seen in the past generation has been led by countries who have joined global markets: in China 400 million citizens have been lifted out of poverty since 1980, South Korea has moved from aid recipient to aid donor by building industry and creating world-renowned brands, and Botswana has grown faster than any other country in Africa by wisely investing proceeds from its diamond mines. Currently, the potential of trade is limited by the rules which work against poor countries, and will need to be reformed before we will see an end to extreme poverty.

The Elephants in the Room

Beyond these three issues, climate change and resource limitations are the elephants in the room, threatening the potential end to extreme poverty. The impact of these issues can be seen in the Pakistan floods, and in the record food prices which will mean that 1 billion people go to bed hungry tonight. On both of these issues our challenge is distribution, not scarcity. We aren’t running out of food – there’s more than enough food on our planet to feed everyone. The problem is that the world’s poorest people can’t afford to buy enough of it. In order to realize the potential of developing populations, rich countries have to increase their efficiency in resource use, and support clean development.

Our role

All of the opportunities and challenges of fighting extreme poverty outlined above are technically possible and eminently affordable. Our role is to make them politically viable and increasingly probable.

We can make a start with simple changes to the way that we act on a daily basis and by learning more about the issues so we can make informed decisions, especially about the ethics of the products we buy and the effectiveness of the money we donate.

Beyond that, we can help others realise that it is possible to end extreme poverty, that we are already making significant progress, and that practical steps can be taken to overcome the challenges that remain.

From there, it’s about using your voice as a citizen to join the campaigns and initiatives of organisations fighting hard in your local community to change the rules and systems that keep people poor: ensuring that corruption is reduced, that aid is given in appropriate quantities in the right way to the right things, and changing trade rules to give the world’s poorest a fair chance to lift themselves out of poverty.

Most importantly, it’s about recognizing that the movement to end extreme poverty is led by people in poverty themselves. As we reflect on the changes of the last generation, we can look forward a generation and see a real prospect of extreme poverty not existing. Our role is to get behind the world’s poor, give voice to their aspirations, and work as citizens and consumers to make the end of extreme poverty the legacy that our generation leaves on this world.

Simon Moss, Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer, Global Poverty Project

Women & Girls: The All-Female Army That Inspired ‘Black Panther’s’ Warriors Are Getting a New Show #DahomeyAmazon #SDGs #GlobalGoals

The Dora Milaje were inspired by a real army of women called the Dahomey Amazons.

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Since Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” premiered in February, the superhero blockbuster has smashed records, stereotypes, and the patriarchy.

Its female characters and all-women army, called the Dora Milaje, have been celebrated for their strength and defiance of traditional gender roles. What many audience members may not know is that, though the Dora Milaje are fictional, they were inspired by the Dahomey Amazons, a group of West African women warriors.

And now the Dahomey Amazons are getting their own show.

The show, whose name has yet to be announced, will not only break down barriers through its depiction of powerful women warriors, but will also break down barriers in the global entertainment industry.

US-based Sony Pictures Television and the Nigerian network EbonyLife announced on Thursday that they would collaboratively produce the series — the first time Hollywood and Nollywood have worked together to create a tv show, CNN reported.

The Dahomey Amazons, originally drafted from among captured and imprisoned foreign women, have a complicated history that dates back to the 17th century. The women warriors were also known as the Ahosi, meaning the “king’s wives” because they were charged with guarding the king. But the majority of the women were not treated as wives, and instead were looked upon as soldiers, sisters, and daughters, according to Teen Vogue.

The fierce women are said to be the only all-female fighting force documented in modern history. It’s this legacy that the show hopes to bring to life on the small screen while pushing back against stereotypes about the African continent.

“Our vision has always been to change the narrative about Africa and to tell our stories from our perspective,” Chief Executive Officer of Ebony Life Mo Abudu said in a statement.

Though no timeline for the show’s release has been announced, people are already looking forward to the series and its potential impact.

 

Partnership for the Goals: Foreign Aid Was a Big Winner in the Budget Trump Signed Last Week #2030Now #SDGs #GlobalGoals

Essential programs around the world will receive the funding they need.

 

For months, it looked like US foreign aid would face massive cuts, imperilling programs that support education in disaster zones, food relief in famines, and maternal health.

But, thanks to bipartisan leadership from US Congresspeople and Senators, those concerns have dissipated — for now.

US President Donald Trump signed a federal budget through fiscal year 2018 last week that dispensed with the steep cuts that the administration had called for and nearly maintains existing levels of foreign aid, even increasing funding in various areas.

Funding for foreign aid was $59.1 billion last year and this year it will be $55.9 billion — still a sizable cut, but much less than the $17.9 billion reduction requested by the White House.

Although foreign aid makes up less than 0.5% of all US spending, its impacts around the world are enormous — and enormously positive. Foreign aid has helped increase access to health care around the world, provide quality education to millions of children, and help communities become more resilient to climate change.

By largely maintaining current levels of US foreign aid, essential programs around will receive the funding they need.

Here are five takeaways from this 2018 budget.


1/ Health Funding Increased

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Last year, the Trump administration threatened to cut funding for all maternal health programs through the “Global Gag Rule” and GC mounted the “She Decides” campaign to counter this possibility.

Instead of getting cut by the US government, maternal health programs are getting an additional $15 million to provide women and children with essential services.

Notably, the bill rejects the Administration’s original proposal to eliminate funding for family planning, keeping funding for international family planning programs that are bilaterally funded by the US at $608M

Funding for global health security, which seeks to mitigate the threat of infectious and other diseases, increased by $100 million, and funding for efforts to fight tuberculosis, which has been proliferating around the world, increased by $20 million.

2/ Education Funding Increased

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Funding for the Global Partnership for Education was expected to get cut or stay the same, but it ended up receiving getting an additional $12.5 million on the 2017 commitment, bringing the US total contribution to GPE for 2018 to $87.5 million.

Globally, 264 million children are out of school, either because of conflict and crisis, poverty, a lack of teachers and resources, or some other reason. Girls in particular are prevented from completing their educations because of stigmas and barriers around the world.

GPE is working to ensure children in 89 countries get access to a quality education.

3/ Food Aid Increased

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More than 127 million people were on the brink of starvation last year, and funding calls to stop various famines were made throughout the year.

The US budget responded to this demand by allocating an additional $116 million to Food for Peace, to bring the total US commitment to $1.72 billion.

Food for Peace is a US program that seeks to end hunger around the world.

4/ Various Programs Remained Intact

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The 2018 budget maintained funding for a lot of different programs.

For instance, US efforts to combat HIV/AIDS will continue to receive $6 billion; funding for programs that promote access to water and sanitation stayed at $400 million; and agricultural programs that promote food security will continue to receive $1.93 billion.

5/ There Was Broad Bipartisan Support

Senators and congressman from both major parties stepped up to protect foreign aid funding.

In particular,  we applaud:

  • Hal Rogers, Republican Congressman from Kentucky

  • Patrick Leahy, Democratic Congressman from Vermont

  • Nita Lowey, Democratic Congresswoman from New York

  • Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina

  • And all the members of the Appropriations and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs committees


It wasn’t all good news, however. A lot of essential programs will be affected by the net $3.2 billion in foreign aid cuts.

For example, $49 million was removed from emergency migration and refugee assistance, a staggering 98% cut. The world is currently facing the largest refugee crisis in recorded history and countries cannot afford to be withholding aid.

The Economic Support Fund, which supports emerging economies and establishes trade partners, was cut by $713 million; diplomacy programs were cut by $890 million; and funds for UN peacekeeping campaigns were slashed by $528 million, meaning other governments will need to pick up the slack.

Foreign aid fared better than expected in the 2018 budget, but this funding cycle will only be covered through September 30, and the negotiations on 2019’s budget, which will start at a 30% cut once again, have already begun.


Quality Education: Taco Bell Is Helping All 210,000 of Its Employees Get an Education #SDGs #2030Now #GlobalGoals

All Taco Bell employee are now eligible for scholarships, online classes, and skills training.

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Fast-casual restaurant chain Taco Bell is known for its creative combinations: quesadilla and burrito (Quesarito), tacos and pizza (Mexican Pizza), and tacos and gorditas (Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch).

Now, the chain is getting creative with its employee benefits, combining work with educational opportunities for all of its 210,000 workers.

On March 15, Taco Bell announced that employees at the chain’s 7,000 stores nationwide are eligible for education classes at 80 online universities, as well as tuition assistance and college credit for job training at the restaurant.

Discounted classes are offered through Taco Bell’s partnership with Guild Education, which also works with Chipotle.

“When we surveyed our employees, education support was one of the top three things they asked for,” Frank Tucker, global chief people officer at Taco Bell, said in a statement. “The barriers to achieving their education goals were time, money and support.”

Programs like this, which are also available for workers at other fast food chains, such as Chipotle, McDonalds, and Starbucks, can be the jump-start students with a high-school degree or less need to improve future economic prospects.

Although the large majority of Americans have a high school diploma or equivalent, just one in three have a bachelor’s degree, and slightly over 10 percent have a master’s degree. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree can increase earnings by more than $20,000 per year, according to Smartasset.

So far, Taco Bell’s program seems to be working, and not just for employees. According to the press release, 98% of 700 workers who participated in a pilot program stayed with the company for more than six months — much higher than the company’s average six-month retention rate of 64 percent.

And with the company planning on adding 100,000 new jobs by 2022, they may not be only employees working at Taco Bell in the long-run.

Hopefully, the early success of Taco Bell’s will inspire other fast-food and fast-casual employers to provide educational opportunities for their workers, as well. 

Environment & Pollution: McDonald’s Will Phase Out Plastic Straws From UK Restaurants #BanPlastic #2030Now #SDGs

The trial will start across all 1,300 fast food outlets in May.

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McDonald’s will be phasing out plastic straws from its restaurants across the UK — in its latest environmentally-friendly effort.

The fast food chain will start trialling paper straws instead of the plastic ones at all 1,300 British outlets in May, in announced on Wednesday on Twitter.

Straws will also be kept behind the counter so customers will have to ask if they want one.

“Customers have told us that they don’t want to be given a straw and that they want to have to ask for one, so we’re acting on that,” said McDonald’s chief executive Paul Pomroy, in an interview with Sky News . “Straws are one of those things that people feel passionately about, and rightly so, and we’re moving those straws behind the front counter.” 

“If you come into McDonald’s going forward, you’ll be asked if you want a straw,” he added. “The other thing we’re looking to do is to move to recycled paper on the straws and biodegradable paper straws and that test, I’m really proud to say, will start next month.” 

The plastic straws in the fast food restaurant can actually already be recycled, but most people still throw them in the rubbish bin.

McDonald’s is “really close” to all of its packaging being recyclable, according to Pomroy. In fact, the only item of packaging that can’t currently be recycled, he said, are the plastic drink lids. But the chain hopes to find a solution to the plastic lids “within the next year.

Some 3.7 million people reportedly visit McDonald’s every day in the UK, with around 90% of the British population visiting at least once a year.

The announcement comes just a week after McDonald’s pledged to cut emissions in its restaurants and offices by 36% and across its supply chain by 31% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels.

It’s also part of a huge drive to cut down on single-use plastics, after the David Attenborough documentary “Blue Planet II” last year drove home exactly what plastics are doing to the marine environment.

On Wednesday, the government announced that England will be getting a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans — a system that has achieved a 97% recycling rate in Germany. It will mean customers pay a small amount extra — to be decided in a consultation later this year — when they buy their drinks, which they will get back when they return the container for recycling.

The scheme is part of the government’s 25-year plan , which aims to “set the global gold standard” on eliminating plastic, according to environment minister Michael Gove.

Sustainable Cities & Communities: This African City May Be the First Ever With 100 Million People Living in It {Lagos!!}#GlobalGoals #SDGs #2030Now

It would be the biggest city in a world of 14 billion people, according to a new study.

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By Henry Ridgwell

LONDON—The world could see its first city with a population of 100 million by the end of this century. That is the conclusion of new research into the speed of urbanization in many fast-growing countries in Africa and Asia, which suggests even small cities could balloon into huge metropolises in the coming decades.

By the end of the century, the world’s population is forecast to reach up to 14 billion. Eighty percent of those people will be living in cities, according to new research from the Ontario Institute of Technology.

“We are now seeing the urbanization wave headed through China, it is toward the latter part of its urbanization. And now it is headed for India, and then we will see it culminate in the big cities of sub-Saharan Africa,” co-author and professor Daniel Hoornweg told VOA via Skype.

That could mean the first 100-million population city, and the top candidate is Lagos, Nigeria.

Africa and cities

Today its population is 20 million, not the largest, as that accolade belongs to Tokyo with about 38 million people, but one of the fastest growing. In two generations, Lagos has grown a hundredfold. By 2100 it is projected to be home to more people than the state of California.

“Lagos, Dar Es Salaam, Kinshasa: These are the cities that are looking at four- to five-fold increases in population. By the end of the century, the lion’s share of large cities, the top 20 if you will, most of those will be in Africa,” Hoornweg said.

Lagos sprawls across 1,000 square kilometers, an urban jungle of skyscrapers, shanty towns and everything in between. Its population grows by 900 people per day.

The poorest residents, often migrant communities, live in slums by the lagoon. Amnesty International has warned of ruthless forced evictions to make way for new developments, which have left more than 30,000 people homeless and 11 dead.

Oladipupo Aiveomiye lives in the Ilaje-Bariga shantytown.

“The threat of being evicted, the threat of being chased away overnight has gripped people to the extent that they cannot even work or operate in this area,” he said.

Young continent

Across Africa the median age is younger than 20 and the fertility rate is 4.4 births per woman. Even small cities are forecast to balloon in size. Niamey in Niger could grow from less than 1 million today to 46 million by the end of the century; Blantyre in Malawi from 1 million to 40 million.

Asia, too, will witness huge urban growth, with Kabul in Afghanistan projected to hit 50 million people.

Hoornweg says despite the associated problems of slums, poor sanitation and pollution, increasing urbanization can be a good thing.

“Cities, by their nature, because of a more compact lifestyle, can provide a quality of life higher than anywhere else with less energy per unit of GDP,” he said. “So, cities actually provide a really important opportunity. We will not get to global sustainability without big cities.”

Many cities in the West are predicted to plateau or decline in size. By the end of the century, only 14 of the biggest 100 are forecast to be in North America or Europe.

Quality Education: Malala Returns to Pakistan for the First Time Since She Was Shot #Malala #SDGs #GlobalGoals #2030Now

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She was attacked by the Taliban in 2012, to stop her speaking out for girls’ education.

Malala Yousafzai has returned to Pakistan for the first time since she was shot in the head, in an attack intended to silence her campaigning on girls’ education.

The activist, who is now 20 and studying at Oxford University, was attacked by the Taliban at just 15, in 2012. The group said at the time she was “promoting Western culture.”

Malala met with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad Pakistan’s capital city, who welcomed her home and said she has returned “as the most prominent citizen of Pakistan.” Malala then gave a short speech on television.

“It’s the happiest day of my life,” she said in the speech , in tears. “I still can’t believe it’s happening. “I don’t normally cry… I’m still 20 years old but I’ve seen so many things in life. Whenever I travel in a plane, car I see the cities of London, New York and I was told that just imagine this is Pakistan, imagine that you are traveling in Islamabad, imagine that your are in Karachi. And it was never true. But now today I see I am here. I am extremely happy.”

Details of her four-day trip are being “kept secret in view of the sensitivity surrounding the visit,” an official told AFP news agency .

It’s not yet know whether Malala will visit her hometown of Swat, in the north-west of the country, which Malala described earlier this month as “paradise on earth.”

“I have received a lot of support in my country,” Malala told David Letterman, a US talk-show host , in a Netflix special. 

“There is this lust for change,” she added. “People want to see change in their country. I am already doing work there but I want my feet to touch that land.” 

It was in Swat that Malala was attacked, along with two other girls, while they were on a school bus after taking an exam. The gunman asked “who is Malala?” before he fired. She was taken to a military hospital in Pakistan, before moving to the UK to recover.

Malala had previously begun writing an anonymous diary about life under the Taliban rule, at just 11, for BBC Urdu. She became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2014, when she received the award jointly with Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi.

The Taliban, which remains active in the country, have specifically targeted schools and colleges in attacks, reported the BBC , killing hundreds of people.

Earlier this month, Malala penned an open letter  to the 53 leaders of the Commonwealth countries, calling them to ensure girls’ education is on the agenda at the Commonwealth Summit, to be held in London in April.

“Together we are fighting for what has been promised but not delivered for far too long: 12 years of safe, free, quality education for every girl,” she wrote. 

 

 

Women And Girls: 12 Badass Women Who Changed the Course of Human History #TimeIsNow #PressForProgress #WomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth

Women’s History Month is almost over, but these women’s legacies live on.

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As the month of March comes to a close, so too does Women’s History Month — an annual celebration of women’s accomplishments and stories. The past month has seen important strides made toward equality for and by women everywhere.

On March 8 — International Women’s Day — more than 5 million people took to the streets of major cities around the world in the largest-ever ‘feminist protest.’ Later, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, one of the worst countries for women in the world, announced that he believed women were “absolutely equal” to men.

Major companies also joined in, with McDonalds flipping their arches from an “M” to a “W” for women and Barbie creating dolls in the image of powerful women from history.

As the month comes to a close, there is still much work to be done — whether that’s electing more women to office, ensuring gender pay parity, or getting rid of laws that discriminate against women around the world.

And we can look to history for inspiration as we continue to wage these battles.

In honour of the end of Women’s History Month, we are  highlighting some of the powerful, inspiring women who changed the world for the better:

1/ Amelia Earhart

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The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart made aviation history — and then disappeared into thin air. While the controversy over where, when, and how Earhart disappeared when she attempted to circumnavigate the globe in 1937 is still a topic of conversation, Earhart’s feats as a pioneer for female pilots should not be forgotten.

In 1932, Earhart completed a 15-hour flight from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, to Derry, Ireland — becoming just the second-person to complete such a trip, and overcoming “fatigue, a leaky fuel tank, and a cracked manifold that spewed flames out the side of the engine cowling” along the way, according to reports published at the time. Her flight set the stage for other female pilots, including Anny Divya, who recently became the youngest-ever woman to pilot a Boeing 777.

2/ Althea Gibson

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Well before Venus and Serena Williams dominated the courts, there was Althea Neale Gibson. Gibson was the first African American to play tennis at Wimbledon, the world’s oldest tennis tournament, which she did in 1950. She would later go on to become the first black woman to play in the PGA Tour, breaking a second color barrier in professional golf.

On and off the court, the multi-sport athlete never cowed to external pressure, once telling reporters, “I am not afraid of any of these players,” in advance of a major tennis match.

3/ Dolores Huerta

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A living legend, Dolores Huerta has organized for labor rights, especially in Latino communities, since the 1950s, and is famous for coining the phrase, “Si, se puede!” (“Yes, we can!”) Her labor activism began with farmworkers in Stockton, California, where she led the Agricultural Workers Association before co-founding the National Farmworkers Association, which was renamed United Farm Workers in 1966.

In her years as an activist, Huerta has fought for voting rights, higher wages, and better working conditions for low-income workers. Even in her old age, she’s become a powerful voice for the voiceless as an activist, speaker, and icon.

4/ Valentina Tereshkova

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Most people have probably heard of the first man on the moon: Neil Armstrong. But what about the first woman in space?

That would be Valentina Tereshkova, a Soviet cosmonaut who in 1963 spent just under three days in space, orbiting earth 48 times. Tereshkova was born to poor, farm-working parents, but would ultimately be honored with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union as well as win a United Nations Gold Medal of Peace, according to Space.com.

5/ Marie Curie

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The first-ever female winner of the Nobel Prize, Marie Curie discovered the elements of polonium and radium, coined the term “radioactivity,” and was the winner of numerous academic and scientific distinctions over the course of her distinguished career.

A noted humanitarian, Curie also used her scientific discoveries to help deliver life-saving electromagnetic radiation techniques to French hospitals during World War I. During that time, she opened a training program at the Radium Institute that helped get other women involved in the response effort during the war, according to IEEE.

6/ Sandra Day O’Connor

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The “notorious RBG” (Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) might not be where she is today were it not for the groundwork laid by Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve as a justice on the US Supreme Court.

O’Connor graduated high school at age 16, and later studied at Stanford University — where she graduated near the top of her class. She was nominated to the US Supreme Court in 1981 by US President Ronald Reagan and served until 2006, a quarter of a century later. In her time on the bench, O’Connor served as the swing vote on major cases, including Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, when she voted that men should be allowed to attend nursing schools.

7/ Margaret Bourke-White

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Known for her deeply moving portraits, Margaret Bourke-White was the first female documentary photographer to be credited for working with the US Army — paving the way for later generations of female war photojournalists that included Vietnam War photographers Dickie Chapelle and Catherine Leroy. Working alongside US military units in World War II for Life Magazine, Bourke-White did not just capture scenes from the war, but also brought to light the atrocities committed by Nazis at concentration camps in Germany. 

8/ Berta Cáceres

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An environmental activist in Honduras, activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her own home in an ongoing battle being waged between environmentalists and land developers in Central America. Cáceres, who was 45 when she was killed, dedicated her life to fighting for the protection of the Gualcarque River, a critical food and water resource for the indigenous Lenca population that was threatened by damming, mining, and logging projects.

Cáceres founded the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (Copinh), which is now led by her daughter Bertha Zuñiga — who has also faced armed threats for her environmental activism. Cáceres was one of more than 120 activists killed in Honduras since a right-wing coup toppled democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

9/ Lilly Ledbetter

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Between 1990 and 2015, the gender wage gap between men and women in the United States decreased by more than 50% — from 36 cents to the dollar to 17 cents to the dollar. And while there is still work to be done to bring that gap all the way down to zero (by some estimates it could take more than 170 years globally to close the gender gap), women today can, at least in part, thank the activism of Lilly Ledbetter for the strides made in the past decades.

Ledbetter is the namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009. Her landmark gender discrimination case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., was overturned in 2007 because she had filed it more than 180 days after her initial employment. The Ledbetter Act revised this law, amending the 180-day requirement and making it easier for women to file gender discrimination cases and receive the restitution they deserve.

10/ Madeleine Albright

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One of America’s most revered immigrants, having fled Czechoslovakia after it was occupied by the Nazis, Madeleine Albright was the first-ever female US Secretary of State. As Secretary of State, Albright sought to broker peace in the Middle East, strengthen US relations with China and Vietnam, and also made history by meeting with then-leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il.

Her leadership paved the way for not one, but two female secretaries of state in the years since she relinquished the post in 2001 — Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

11/ Margaret Sanger

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The mother of the modern day movement for birth control, Margaret Sanger’s contributions to reproductive rights are notable for more reasons than one. Sanger’s own mother died during childbirth, after having brought 11 children into the world — a death that, according to American National Biography, Sanger attributed to a combination of multiple child births and poverty.

After leaving the suburbs for New York City in the early 1990s, Sanger went on to write columns for The Woman Rebel and New York Call about female sexuality and rights, and in 1914 was the first to use the term “birth control” in her pamphlet “The Woman Rebel.” Later in life, she founded the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which provided more than 180 million family planning services around the world in 2016, according to its website.

12/ Jane Addams

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An advocate for the working poor, Jane Addams fought to end pernicious child labor in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, becoming just the second woman and first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. Addams opened Chicago’s Hull-House in 1889 as a haven for thousands of Chicagoans that also offered resources from kindergarten classes to an art gallery to an employment bureau.

Throughout her career, she was also the first woman to earn an honorary degree from Yale, which she was given for her charity work, and waged an ultimately unsuccessful anti-war campaign in the lead-up to World War I.

 

Reduced Inequalities: Northern Ireland Just Took a Major Step Toward Passing Same-Sex Marriage #LGBT #LGBTQ #SDGs #GlobalGoals

It’s the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not legal.

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A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was introduced to the United Kingdom’s House of Lords Tuesday, and could now move to the House of Commons.

While the move brings the small country closer to passing same sex marriage, significant challenges remain — including the fact that Northern Ireland is currently without a government, which collapsed last January, The Journal, an Irish news site, reports.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that has not recognized same-sex marriage — even though it was the first to recognize domestic partnerships in 2005.

Neighboring Ireland recognized same-sex marriage through a referendum vote in 2015, Scotland did so in 2014, and the UK and Wales did so in 2013, according to BBC.

The new bill was introduced to the House of Lords by Lord Robert Hayward and will also be introduced to the House of Commons by Member of Parliament Conor McGinn on Wednesday, according to reports.

“[E]quality is not something you can pick and choose on around the United Kingdom,” Hayward told the BBC. “It should apply to all parts of the UK.”

He added that the introduction of the bill was met by an “audible ‘hear, hear’ from all sides of the chamber.”

On Tuesday, McGinn penned an op-ed in The Guardian calling on the UK to pass a bill guaranteeing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, saying: “Same-sex couples should not have to wait any more for this long overdue change and to enjoy the same rights as my constituents in St. Helens, or people in Dublin, London, Cardiff or Edinburgh.”

Part of the challenge any same-sex marriage bill faces in Northern Ireland is opposition from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

In 2015, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed a bill by one vote that would have legalized same-sex marriage, but it was blocked by the DUP, which filed a “petition of concern” that said the bill violated minority rights.

Now, however, the Assembly is stalled because the DUP and opposition party Sinn Fein failed to reach a power-sharing agreement — which gives the UK government the ability to pass laws in Northern Ireland if it can muster cross-party support.

Hayward said Tuesday he hoped the UK would “in one form or another… get this into law.”

Same-sex marriage has public backing in Northern Ireland, with more than two-thirds of people saying they support it in a 2015 poll