Mar 08, 2024

Celebrating UNPO's Women on International Women's Day

On this International Women's Day, UNPO proudly celebrates the courage, strength, and indomitable spirit of women across the globe. Women have tirelessly championed equality, justice, and human rights, despite facing formidable obstacles and systemic barriers. Within our diverse member communities, women have emerged as resilient leaders, driving positive change and shaping a more inclusive world for all.

In the face of gender inequalities and historical injustices, women within UNPO have demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination. They have navigated complex political landscapes, challenged discriminatory norms, and mobilized communities to demand recognition and respect for their rights. 

In a historic milestone, the organization's leadership is also predominantly composed of women, marking a significant step forward in promoting gender equality and amplifying the voices of unrepresented people worldwide. For the first time in its over 32- year history, UNPO is led by:  President, Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, a prominent nurse-midwife, and healthcare advocate, known for establishing Edna Adan University and Hospital in Somaliland; Vice-President and Treasurer: Elisenda Paluzie, Catalan economist and independence movement leader, former president of the Catalan National Assembly; Vice-President: Dr. Rubina Greenwood, human rights activist focusing on Sindhi issues, chairperson of the World Sindhi Congress and founder of the International Sindhi Women Organization; and Secretary General, Mercè Monje Cano who has worked in civil society organizations, NGOs and international organizations in several countries including Brazil, Mexico, Mali, Italy, Spain, France and Switzerland. 

Together, they bring diverse expertise and commitment to advancing the rights of unrepresented peoples globally. Furthermore, the composition of the UNPO Secretariat also reflects this historic shift, with women occupying key roles and driving positive change from within the organization. This collective leadership of women underscores UNPO's commitment to breaking gender barriers and fostering inclusive representation in decision-making processes.

As we reflect on the progress achieved and the challenges that lie ahead, UNPO reaffirms its unwavering support for women's empowerment and gender equality. We recognize that true progress requires not only the removal of legal and institutional barriers but also the transformation of attitudes, beliefs, and power dynamics that perpetuate inequality and exclusion. Through our collective efforts, we are committed to creating an environment where women's voices are heard, valued, and respected. We are dedicated to fostering inclusive decision-making processes, amplifying women's leadership, and ensuring equal access to opportunities for all members of society. Together, let us continue to stand in solidarity with women everywhere, celebrate their achievements, and work tirelessly towards a future where every woman and girl can thrive, unbound by barriers or limitations. 

Happy International Women's Day!


Read about UNPO ‘’Unrepresented Women in Politics’’ report here: 

Photo credit: Svetlana Shamshurina