International Women’s Day was on March 8, and on March 4, First Lady Melania Trump recognized women worldwide for their amazing achievements, by honoring 12 women at the 2020 International Women of Courage Awards.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hosted the event at the state department: “Now in its 14th year, the Secretary of State’s IWOC Award recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice,” the State Department said in a statement. “Since the inception of this award in March 2007, the Department of State has recognized 134 women from 73 countries.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 7, 2020
The first lady was “inspired” by the stories the women told, “It is an honor to be here again to celebrate these inspiring women and the incredible impacts they are making through the work they’ve dedicated themselves to all over the world,” she said. “In my fourth year attending this ceremony, I continue to be inspired by the personal stories that accompany each of these extraordinary women. Some demonstrate raw courage in the face of terror.”
“As first lady of the United States, I’m proud of what this country continues to do for women,” she continued. “I’m honored to represent a nation that not only recognizes women around the world who are making a difference internationally but empowers and supports them in their endeavors so they can affect positive change for others.”
The first lady spoke about the risks these 12 women have often taken, and the spiritual strength they possess. “These women represent the strength of the female spirit,” the first lady said. “Each of them have demonstrated acts of courage and leadership, often at risk to their own personal safety,” reports BPR.
Zarifa Ghafari, 26, mayor of a conservative Afghanistan town, was appreciative of being seen by the United States as a world leader in the fight for women’s rights.
“It was not so long ago that most women were considered property and sadly, in some parts of the world, it’s still the same,” said Ghafari said at the event. “Throughout the modern area, there has been one global leader in the fight for women’s rights, and that’s the United States of America. To the American people, to the American government, let me say: Thank you. Thank you for all you have done to improve conditions for women all around the world.”
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 4, 2020
“When I started my job, the men at the municipal office refused to acknowledge me and my authority. A mob came and chased me away. They thought that was the end of that. But I came back. I came back and stood my ground,” she said.
“Women of my generation have not forgotten the reign of the Taliban and we are as always worried for the future,” she added, reported Fox News. “Whatever we women of the world have achieved, we must not take it for granted. It can be taken back from if we are not diligent and strong.”
On Saturday, the first lady took to Twitter to encourage her detractors.
She tweeted, “I encourage everyone who chooses to be negative & question my work at the @WhiteHouse to take time and contribute something good & productive in their own communities. #BeBest.”