For our 25th anniversary and in recognition of countries celebrating Mother's Day in May, here at Equality Now we are recognizing the women in our lives who have inspired us. Whether they are our mothers, sisters, teacher or friends - we want to thank and acknowledge the bold and fearless women who have taught us so much.
Here are some of our stories...
"The women who have inspired me are my daughter, wife, mother, sisters and every woman I meet every day fighting to challenge status quo in a male dominated society by raising their voices whenever an injustice is committed." - Jean-Paul Murunga, Nairobi Office (pictured with Equality Now colleague Mary Ciugu)
A special Father's Day edition:
"A person in my life that I would consider an inspiration would be my Father. As the eldest of eight kids, my dad became the father figure of the household after losing my grandfather at a young age. Growing up in an era where the birth of a daughter was considered more of a burden than a blessing, my father made sure that all five of his sisters were well taken care of. He made sure that all five of his sisters were educated and could stand on their own two feet in society. Today when I look at my aunts and my own sisters for that matter I see successful women in various sectors of life including politics, entrepreneurs and management. I know this would not have been possible without the encouragement of my father. As a father to two daughters myself, I know the importance of making my kids feel like they can conquer the world. One of the biggest and toughest jobs I consider myself having is teaching my girls to be brave, strong and intelligent because that is where true beauty lies. I can only hope that no matter what they do and where they go in life, they always know that I will always be here for them cheering them along the way." - Ajay Saini, America's Office
"I'm inspired by the amazing women I served alongside in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Macedonia! Not only are they some of my closest friends to this day, they are fellow advocates dedicated to making the world a better place for women and girls. One of the most meaningful experiences was being counselors together at camp GLOW (Girls Leading our World), focused on empowerment and youth leadership. We all took this advocacy back home with us." - Sarah Porter, America's Office
"My inspiration is my mother, who built a successful career in advertising during the 1970’s and 1980’s while juggling the demands of being a single parent. At that time there was very little support for working mothers and sexism was rife. She was a great role model for me and a trailblazer who helped open the way for women to come." - Tara Carey, Europe Office
"Maha Abu-Dayyeh Shammas was my director at the Women Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) for ten years. I learned so much from her in regard to women's and girls' rights; her continuous support to victims of violence was endless. She was a woman with values, commitment, solidarity, credibility, and a believer that women and girls should live in a world free of violence and discrimination. As women living in a patriarchal society, we have to fight every day for our own existence in addition for the lives of women and girls whom we serve. Maha taught me how to be strong, determined, and to be positive towards achieving goals." Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East/North Africa consultant
“From a really young age, my mom showed what it meant to stand with other women and be a leader in her everyday activism. She took me along with her when she got signatures for the ERA petition, had me sit with my crayons in her classes when she went back to get a college degree, and led an all-woman artist studio that sprang from PS 1 (now part of MOMA!). She listened with empathy to her friends' stories of displacement, abuse and the shared experience of growing up female. And she never hesitated to call out misogyny - whether it was a sexist shopkeeper or a great uncle. In that she taught me how to be a leader and work for the rights of women and girls." Christa Stewart, Americas Office
“I'm inspired by a lot of women in my life, especially my girlfriends. They are brilliant, supportive, beautiful, witty and powerful. Each trailblazers in their own right. They push me to be a better version of myself. I'm a big believer in the Shine Theory, which basically posits that surrounding yourself with women who shine will, in turn, make you shine. Surrounding myself with women who are badass and out to do right doesn't only make me shine, it also - and more importantly - helps all of us support each other, break down stereotypes and break glass ceilings.” Karla Torres, Americas Office
“My grandmother is my inspiration. She has four daughters, which was not seen as a blessing during her time, yet she worked hard to send them to school, defying the norm at a time when educating girls was not valued. Her legacy is the better life she created for her daughters. For me, she’s a source of encouragement for fighting against the odds and for the values I believe in." Tsitsi Matekaire, Europe Office
“Mama dearest is my anchor, my inspiration, she is the wind beneath my wings and her prayers for me keep me going. She has imparted self-discipline, hard work & resilience in me. My mama doesn’t believe in giving up on your dreams. She is strong willed and a go-getter. Her belief in equal opportunities for girls inspires my activism. She is a great supporter of the work that I do.” Naitore Nyamu-Mathenge, Africa Office