NEW YORK — Business and community leaders, dignitaries and philanthropists celebrated advances in the health and rights of women last night at the Americans for UNFPA Awards for the Health and Dignity of Women. Americans for UNFPA builds support within the United States for the work of UNFPA.
At the yearly gala, five champions of women’s health and rights were honoured for their outstanding contributions:
- Super-model and film maker Christy Turlington Burns for her advocacy work and personal quest to eradicate maternal death globally. She is the founder of Every Mother Counts, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving maternal health.
- Philanthropist Teresa Heinz for her contributions to women’s education, especially related to financial literacy and retirement security. She is chairman of the Heinz Endowments and Heinz Family Philanthropies
- Corporate media trailblazer Patricia Fili-Krushel from Time Warner. She is the first woman to become president of one of the three major American television networks and has initiated several leadership programmes for women.
- Dr. Marta Julia Ruiz, founder of the Population Council's Abriendo Oportunidades programme. It educates and empowers indigenous girls in Guatemala with training in leadership, advocacy and basic life skills to help lift Mayan girls out of poverty.
- Feeza Shraim, a midwife from the Palestinian Territories, who set up an emergency clinic in her home to care for pregnant women in Gaza during times of siege. During the most recent crisis in Gaza she left her family to set up a second clinic, working around the clock to support 53 safe deliveries over 21 days.
“We have cause to feel optimistic about our ability to influence policy for the world’s women,” said Anika Rahman, President, Americans for UNFPA, pointing to changes in American attitudes toward women’s health, and to new figures showing progress in reducing maternal mortality. “Women’s health is en route to gaining its rightful place as a basic human right.”