Pakistan activist honored with ‘International Women of Courage Award’
Tabassum Adnan of Pakistan, the founder of Khwendo Jirga, one among 10 women recently honored as 2015 International Women of Courage Award recipients in Washington, D.C., will be the featured speaker for the third annual International Women’s Day Celebration sponsored by the Women’s Civic Forum and the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council.
Adnan is a women’s rights advocate in an area of Pakistan formerly controlled by the Taliban.
Adnan married at 13 years old and she divorced her husband after 20 years of abuse, a move that caused her to lose her children and her home and left her impoverished. She started the Khwendo Jirga, or Sister’s Council, the first women-only informal judicial body. The council addresses issues of honor killings of women, acid attacks and swara, which is the act of handing over women as compensation for crimes or as a resolution of a dispute. Adnan’s Jirga also launches awareness campaigns for women’s causes and mobilizes women to vote, and she pursues this work and advocacy in spite of continued threats on her life.
The Jirga helped women to realize their rights such as right to vote and also offer free legal help to victims of violence.
According to a press release by the US Department of State, “The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk.”
The award was launched in 2007, and since then, 86 women from more than 50 different countries have been honored.
This year’s recipients reflect women’s roles as agents of change and leaders in many of the crises and challenges facing the World today, from countering violent extremism to promoting security and recovery from the Ebola Virus Disease,” said the press release.
US Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom presented 10 extraordinary women from 10 countries the award.
The Oslo Times