Maria Claudia Mendez
Latin America and the Caribbean   Learn More
Phelicia Dell
Latin America and the Caribbean   Learn More
Sohini Chakraborty
Asia and the Pacific Islands   Learn More
Wang Xingjuan
Asia and the Pacific Islands   Learn More
Roshaneh Zafar
Asia and the Pacific Islands   Learn More
Brigitte Dzogbenuku
Africa   Learn More
Doron Shaltiel
Africa   Learn More

"I firmly believe that the future prosperity and peace of the African continent rests in the economic empowerment of African women."

- Dawn Marole, South Africa

"Through our work, we are trying to help women abandon the tradition of bearing their burdens alone."

- Guo Jianmei, China

"I made a promise to myself, that I would build a new future, a new reality for Afghanistan."

- Andeisha Farid, Afghanistan

"People think that power and real change comes from the top, from politicians and decision makers. But I believe that change doesn’t come from a law, change comes when you can shift culture."

- Panmela Castro, Brazil

"The practice of inclusion is not just a means to stop the violence, but at the heart of shaping the peace."

- Inez McCormack, Northern Ireland

"Now I see a new future for myself. I want to be a member of parliament in my country. And show other women that they can be leaders in their communities and they have the right to live a life free of violence."

- Rebecca Lolosoli, Kenya

"I believe gender inequity is a market failure. You have to take risks. If you don't let the unexpected to happen, you will never truly understand the miracles of life."

- Roshaneh Zafar, Pakistan

These are stories of women in the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network. They are social entrepreneurs, politicians, human rights defenders — leaders of progress around the world. From booming cities to remote villages, women are moving whole communities, even countries, toward economic growth, wider political and public leadership and greater respect for human rights.

These are stories of what happens when you invest in women leaders. It’s not just their courage that’s remarkable — it’s how they take what they've learned and pass it on to the next generation of women leaders. One leader inspires many more, and a powerful ripple effect proves that women are agents of transformative change. Theirs are the Vital Voices of our time.

Voices of Change

  • This year, we're celebrating ten years of honoring women's leadership. Read about past honorees Learn more
  • The founder of Rural Women Knowing All magazine and a powerful advocate for millions of rural women across China... Learn more
  • Andeisha Farid spent her childhood living in refugee camps outside of Afghanistan, now she operates 10 orphanages... Learn more
  • After participating in an Entrepreneurs in Handcrafts training, Doron took part in numerous trade shows... Learn more
  • Kakenya Ntaiya of Kenya dreamed of becoming a teacher and negotiated with her father for a chance at a college education... Learn More
  • Somaly Mam was born into the poverty and chaos of Cambodia in the 1970s, and sold to a brothel as a teenager. Learn More
  • Laura Alonso headed up a government accountability watchdog group in Argentina to expose corruption... Learn More