Today, Secretary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the annual International Women of Courage Awards at the Department of State. To mark International Women's Day, the annual award recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights and women's advancement.
Secretary Clinton announced the 10 winners of this year's International Women of Courage (IWOC) award: Shukria Asil (Afghanistan), Col. Shafiqa Quraishi (Afghanistan), Androula Henriques (Cyprus), Sonia Pierre (Dominican Republic), Shadi Sadr (Iran), Ann Njogu (Kenya), Dr. Lee Ae-ran (Republic of Korea), Jansila Majeed (Sri Lanka), Sister Marie Claude Naddaf (Syria), and Jestina Mukoko (Zimbabwe). Read more about the honorees here.
Secretary Clinton said, "Now today once again, we are honoring women from around the world who have endured isolation and intimidation, violence and imprisonment. Many have even risked their lives to advance justice, freedom, and equal rights for everyone. Their stories remind us of how much work there is left to do before the rights and dignity of all people -- no matter who you are or where you live -- are respected and protected by the world's governments. But these women prove that change is possible. They are brave and they are making a difference, and they are up against powerful interests determined to bring them down. By honoring them today, the United States and the Obama Administration sends a very clear message that though they may work in lonely circumstances, they are not alone. We are standing with you." Read the Secretary's full remarks here.
Andrea Jung, Chairwoman and CEO of Avon, and Reese Witherspoon, Avon's global ambassador, also participated in the ceremony. The Avon Foundation is contributing half a million dollars to the Secretary of State's Fund for Global Women's Leadership. This $500,000 grant will provide funds for NGOs that work on domestic and gender violence issues around the world.