The Global Women’s Rights Awards are given annually to a select few individuals who have contributed greatly to advancing the human rights of women and girls and to increasing awareness of the injustices women and girls face. Our honorees this year are courageously tackling critically important issues for the full equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the U.S. and around the globe: access to clean water and adequate sanitation, access to full reproductive health care, including safe abortion, and political empowerment.
Mayor Karen Weaver
The Honorable Dr. Karen Weaver is the Mayor of Flint, Michigan. Since taking office in November of 2015, Mayor Weaver has led the fight to end the drinking-water crisis in Flint, fighting back against those who created the disaster and the state and federal officials who turned a blind eye. Her efforts have focused attention on the issue of water safety all across the country. As a result of her fight in Flint, we now know that lead contamination is present in nearly 2,000 U.S. water systems, in all 50 states.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. Mlambo-Ngcuka has devoted her career to issues of human rights, equality and social justice. From 2005 to 2008, she served as Deputy President of South Africa, overseeing programs to combat poverty and bring the advantages of a growing economy to the poor, with a particular focus on women. A longtime champion of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Amy Brenneman is an actor, producer, and activist. She is known for creating and starring in the hit series Judging Amy, and for her starring roles in Private Practice and The Leftovers. Brenneman has long been an advocate for women's and girls' empowerment, and is an outspoken advocate for women's access to safe abortion. Most recently, Brenneman along with eight other women, filed an amicus brief in the Texas abortion case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt now before the Supreme Court, telling their stories of how their abortions allowed them to take control of their lives and plan for the futures.
America Ferrera is an actor, producer, and activist. Ferrera is perhaps best known for her fearless portrayal of “Betty Suarez” on the hit comedy Ugly Betty, and currently stars in and co-produces the series Superstore on NBC. A longtime activist for equality worldwide, Ferrera served as an artist ambassador for Save the Children, and traveled to India with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to take part in the PBS film project Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Ferrera has been an outspoken advocate for the empowerment of the Latina/o community, working closely with Voto Latino, a national youth empowerment organization taking on critical issues such as voter id laws, healthcare, education, and immigration.