Women Wednesday #46

Posted on 13 September 2017


We love how women are changing the world and making an impact to their home countries that we're talking all things awesome and new every Wednesday!

Palestinian flag


Female police officer


"Have you lost your mind?" was the typical reaction from friends and family when Wafa Sharqawi decided to quit her job as a teacher in UNRWA school at her refugee camp to join the Palestinian Civil Police in 1997. Not only was it unusual for a woman to join an all-male police force, but the public did not trust the security forces. Wafa refused to take administrative roles; while serving in challenging positions, such as the head of the Correction and Rehabilitation Centre of Ramallah, she strived to set an example for other women. Now, almost 20 years later, public perceptions about the police and women in the force are shifting. Today, women make up 3.5 per cent of the Palestinian police force, a slow but needed increase. There is an active gender unit, the first gender strategy and a professional family protection unit. Gender equality is (finally) becoming a priority. Palestinian women’s involvement in policing has enhanced the overall credibility of the force and improved communication with the citizens. Wafa wants to see more women joining the police so that the force truly reflects and serves all citizens. Her message for young Palestinian women who are interested in policing as a career is simple— “It’s a journey worth exploring.”

Nigerian flagNIGERIA

(Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe / Trowelblazers)


Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe is geoscientist and her career, marked by a number of distinguished awards and achievements, has taken her from the Cretaceous in Nigeria to the Eocene of the U.S. Gulf Coast to modern-day West Australia. She earned her BSc in Geology at Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo) University in Nigeria, where she received the Federal Government of Nigeria Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduate Students, and then went on to obtain her MSc in Applied Geology before becoming an assistant lecturer there.  In 1988, she left her home country to study for her PhD in Geology at Cambridge with a full scholarship from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. In her early career, she worked as a Shipboard Sedimentologist on the high profile international Ocean Drilling Programme, which collected the deep sea sediment cores that are now central to our understanding of long term climate change. As well as all this, she is regularly involved in education and outreach initiatives and was Director for the Association for Women Geoscientists Foundation from 2005 to 2009. The world of STEM needs more women like Francisca!

Afghanistan flagAFGHANISTAN

Female radio station


When Radio Shaista goes silent, you know the Taliban are close. The female-run radio station was looted and wrecked when the group captured Kunduz, Afghanistan’s embattled northern city, in 2015, sending journalists fleeing. Even after the Taliban were routed, female journalists have been on guard, but they don’t give up. Zarghoona Hassan, Radio Shaista’s director, says the Taliban’s anger was fuelled by talk of empowering women. The radio broadcast discussions with religious scholars about women’s rights and called on mothers of Taliban combatants to prevent their sons from fighting. “We had conversations about women studying, and talked about female pilots,” says Hassan. Hassan now splits her time between Kunduz and the capital, Kabul. Since 2015 she has had to shut down her radio station twice but it always comes back to empower the women of Afghanistan. Hassan also heads another radio station, Radio Kayhan, which covers youth-related issues. She won’t let anything stand in her way of empowering women and young people and we salute her strength and resilience. 

Have a positive week,

Love Neon Moon x   

Let us know your thoughts about this weeks Women Wednesday below. 


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