The Secretary of States’ International Women of Courage Award honors women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve others’ lives. It is an extraordinary opportunity to bring international attention and support to women who have put their lives and/or personal safety at risk in order to improve their communities. Through IWOC, now in its eleventh year, the U.S. Department of State has honored over 100 courageous women from more than 60 countries.
The 2017 awardees are:
Sharmin Akter, Activist Against Early/ Forced Marriage, Bangladesh
Malebogo Molefhe, Human Rights Activist, Botswana
Natalia Ponce de Leon, President, Natalia Ponce de Leon Foundation, Colombia
Rebecca Kabugho, Political and Social Activist, Democratic Republic of Congo
Jannat Al Ghezi, Deputy Director of The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq
Major Aichatou Ousmane Issaka, Deputy Director of Social Work at the Military Hospital of Niamey, Niger
Veronica Simogun, Director and Founder, Family for Change Association, Papua New Guinea
Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, Lawyer and Founder of Not One Woman Less, Peru
Sandya Eknelygoda, Human Rights Activist, Sri Lanka
Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh, Member, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (F.M.A.), Syria
Saadet Ozkan, Educator and Gender Activist, Turkey
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Blogger and Environmental Activist, Vietnam
Fadia Najib Thabet, Human Rights Activist, Yemen
Full biographies are available here.