The WomanStats Project gives Awards each year to people, organizations, and countries for their achievements in raising the status of women throughout the world. These awards give credit to the people who can inspire us and show us that change for the betterment of women can happen, and indeed is happening.
We also give reprimands for countries and practices that perpetuate harm against women. These awards bring awareness the practices perpetuate harm to women and ask for change.
These are the recipients for our 2015 awards:
For our first category, Three Cheers, we awarded the countries that have made significant advancements in creating a better environment for women. The winners are Nigeria, for their president Goodluck Jonathan banning female genital mutilation, and Gambia for doing the same. While it is very positive that these countries took this step in protecting women’s health, there will still be a lot of work that must be done to change attitudes and practices regarding FGM to follow this new law.
Our second category, Please Reconsider, we give to countries that have perpetuated or worsened gender inequality. The recipient of this award is Sierra Leone for formally banning “visibly pregnant” girls from attending school. Even worse, experts say that girls’ pregnancies in Sierra Leone are usually caused by rape. We hope Sierra Leone will make changes to make their schools and country more hospitable to all girls and victims and survivors of rape.
The third category, What in the World?, goes to strange stories or practices related to gendered issues. The recipient is a practice in India where men marry multiple women just so they can collect water during droughts while the first wife takes care of all other responsibilities. Changing social, political, and, especially in this case, environmental circumstances can alter the manifestations of the devaluation of women. The gender expectation that women will collect water is used in this case to treat women as servants.
The fourth category, Missing Data, which is given to countries that have a significant lack of data on women’s experience in their country. The countries that received this are Vanuatu, South Sudan, Kosovo, Suriname, Guinea-Bissau, Pakistan, Swaziland, Solomon Islands, Djibouti, and Luxembourg. The WomanStats Project is continually seeking data for these countries (and others) for our many variables and we are always accepting data from qualified sources.
Fifth is “Best Advocate for Gender Equality” which goes to NGOs, individuals, and other organizations that are contributing to the fight for gender equality. This year the winner was Dalit Women Fight, an NGO that brings awareness to and protesting caste discrimination and more specifically sexual assault of women from the Dalit, or “untouchable,” caste in India. They hold Self-Respect Marches to bring the government’s failings regarding sexual assault to light. They are currently touring in the United States all throughout October to combine their efforts and spread their cause across a wider support group. http://www.dalitwomenfight.com/
Sixth, the category is “Film of the Year,” which awards films that portray women’s stories, from history, the present, or fiction, well. This year we awarded He Named Me Malala. This documentary, directed by Davis Guggenheim, is about the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai. It shares her personal and political journey to her present activism for girls’ right to education.
Seventh, “He for She” goes to outstanding male advocates for gender equality. We chose Lieutenant General David Morrison, a retired Australian Chief of Army, for his condemnation for sexism and sexual harassment in the military, which he shared through a YouTube video that became viral. His condemnation causes us to look at our own militaries and how they all are culpable of levels of sexism within and make strong stances against discrimination.
Eighth, the category “SHEro of the Year” goes to outstanding female advocates for gender equality. In 2015, we awarded Inkosi Kachindamoto, Malawian Senior Chief, who ended (at least) 330 child marriages and she banned child marriage in Malawi. Most of the girls who are forced into early marriage get pregnant and must drop out of school, leaving them uneducated and without future prospects. Better educated women create stronger communities and empower women. Chief Kachindamoto is directly helping keeping girls in school, when previous to her decision, only 45% of girls stayed in school past 8th grade.
The ninth category is “Most Creative Approach to Ending Gender Inequality,” which we award to people and organizations that utilize different and new methods to promote gender equality. The winner was Sheroes’ Hangout in Agra India, which is a café run completely by women who have survived acid attacks that have left them with scars. Their goal is to foster a community of confidence for women who have been disfigured and normalize acid scars so that women who have them will not be ashamed of their own appearance.
The tenth, and last, award is “Most Prevalent Issue of the Year,” which is a look back at the most widely-discussed or worrying political, social, or moral issue that have affected women. This year we chose the ISIS-led mass kidnapping and rapes of specifically Yazidi women, as well as others, in ISIS-occupied Iraq and Syria. These women were horrifically tortured and raped and were also sold as sex slaves to various buyers in order to fund ISIS fighters. Hussein Alqaidi, Director of the Office of Kidnapped Affairs in Kurdistan, said that 3,735 are still captive and 1,882 of them are girls and women. Families have to buy back their captive family members in order to rescue them but this is becoming increasingly difficult. More information on the issue can be found here: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/10/yazidis-hope-rescue-isil-held-family-members-161005123206084.html
To see more information and sources on the winners and recipients of these awards, go to the WomanStats 2015 Award page here: http://www.womanstats.org/awards2015.html
Please also submit nominations for the 2016 awards here: http://ow.ly/LKn5303JURy