(UN Women / Murray Lloyd)
In a project led by UN Women, women in Fiji are being trained to lead disaster and emergency management.The project has been introduced after a Cyclone in March 2015 that saw women being discouraged from going to evacuation centres by male counterparts and people with disabilities being forgotten when it came to the distribution of food. It has been recognised by the coordinators of the project that when women are in leadership roles and part of decision-making, the needs of women, children and people with disabilities, the more vulnerable, were more likely to be considered and met. This is an example of how the empowerment of women in the fight for gender quality benefits all, and we are glad that women are finally being included in important decisions about their safety. We wish them a safe year.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
(Satish Kumar / The National)
Alia Al Mansouri, a 14 year old from Dubai hopes to become one of the first Emirati astronauts of her generation to travel to Mars. She was just one of many pupils who attended the Project Space conference, where female scientists and space experts discussed the need for more women in the industry. Of the 537 people whom have travelled into space, only 60 have been women. This is changing, thanks to the dedication of conferences like these in inspiring the next generation of girls. Alia is a finalist in this years Genes In Space competition, for which she has completed an experiment focused on DNA, in the hope that it will win and be sent to the International Space Station. She said, "Growing up, I’d watch Star Wars every morning and look at the stars through my telescope every night. One day, it hit me that I could do this." We are sure Alia will be among the stars one day!
(Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)
Women's rights activist, Betty Tebbs, has sadly passed away. Betty was a well known women's rights activist, whom started her work empowering women at the age of 14, when she realised that her male colleague was earning more for the same work. "I was so pleased when I got my first wage until I saw the boy's wage, which was two shillings more than me - and yet we were doing the same work," Ms Tebbs told BBC Arts Night in 2015. Betty is responsible for much of the legal groundwork for legislation that now protects all women. She became chair of the National Assembly of Women in 1978, and used the position to meet world leaders and pressure them to scrap atomic weapons, as she believed fiercely in nuclear disarmament. She fought for her beliefs all through her life, being arrested in Scotland in 2007 (at the age of 88!) for blockading a military base during an anti-Trident demonstration. Her life story is inspiring, and we thank her for her commitment to gender equality.