Madame Courage
Madam Courage

Since that date we witnessed enormous improvements in women’s lives around the globe, when more women and girls enjoy protection against gender-based violence, more female politicians and diplomats serve around the globe. The slogan of the anniversary is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!'”

Besides, more and more NGO’s and companies worldwide are eager to present reports and their support on behalf of the celebration of the Woman’s Day this year. If you just follow the hashtag on twitter with #iwd2015 you will discover piles of new ideas and statements on behalf of many companies and organizations. For example, CNN devoted a special article in celebration of International Woman’s day with the title 7 women who changed the world. If we pay attention to the infographics provided by UN, we will record the double rise of the percentage of women in parliaments around the globe in the last 20 years. Although, this only translates into 22% of women in parliament today.

Every year we are discussing the list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women created by Forbes, we are daily reading and watching news bearing in mind Europe’s most powerful women politicians or famous artists, but very often we did not pay proper attention to the talented female diplomats, Human Rights defenders and executive directors of intergovernmental international organizations who are contributing to peace, stability and prosperity in their regions and worldwide, sometimes even more than the most powerful heads of the state.

“If we care about the health and well-being of children today and into the future, we must work now to ensure that women and girls have equal opportunities to be educated, to participate in government, to achieve economic self-sufficiency and to be protected from violence and discrimination,” said Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF's (United Nations Children's Fund) fifth Executive Director. Mrs. Veneman was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General in 2005 and “fulfilled her mandate with immense dedication” till 2010. She was the first woman to become the U.S. secretary of Agriculture and after that position she took over the post at UNICEF, where among other accomplishments, she improved the financial and organizational position of the institution. She invested great efforts in the series of projects, among which was the fruitful cooperation with the World Health Organization, The United Nations Population Fund and the World Bank for creating progress on maternal and newborn health in 25 countries, which show worldwide the highest rates of infant mortality. She made also great contribution in order to fight the harmful practice that 3 million girls and women endure each year: female genital mutilation. In 2009 Mrs. Veneman was included in the Forbes Magazine’s List of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

Another significant personality is Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini who is currently serving as the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group on the implementation of the peace plan in the East of Ukraine. She was working on behalf of the Swiss government for the past 30 years, and she obtained a prominent reputation as a conflict mediator in the most difficult conflict in the last 20 years. Besides, she was heading the election observation missions around the world with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). In 2008, she was appointed by the EU Council to lead the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia. As a result her team produced 1,000-page report for the European Union in 2009 analyzing the roots of the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Heidi Tagliavini also made a great contribution to the international investigation into the area of the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in July as she negotiated a deal between Ukraine and separatists to allow independent investigators to collect remains and wreckage and made their own resolution.

In February 2015, Tagliavini alongside François Hollande, Angela Merkel, Valdimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko was among the signatories of the Minsk II agreement, 16 hours of negotiations between the most powerful European leaders also named by some media outlets “marathon peace negotiations” resulted a new ceasefire deal for eastern Ukraine. Director for policy and communications at Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, Oleksii Makeiev praised her work stating: “She not only has our trust, but what is very important is that she has the Russians’ trust as well. And she has all that trust because she is very professional and experienced.”

Mrs. Tagliavini was named by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung “Madame Courage”. This is the most accurate definition for the courageous Swiss diplomat, but this apt remark can be also attributed to all other women heads of states, diplomats, peacekeepers, Human Rights activists, journalists and devoted professionals in many other areas who made a big difference to improving the world.