Women Who Inspire Change: Anabel Ochoa

In 1997 I was 18 years old and had just moved to Mexico City. Although I had moved away from Zacatecas to study at the university, I also had the desire to fully embrace my sexuality and live as a gay man with dignity.

One night when I was feeling alone, far away from the family and friends I’d left at home, I heard something on the radio that took me by surprise. The program being broadcast was called “Totally Naked,” and its host was sexologist Anabel Ochoa. After that night, I never missed a show.


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Women Who Inspire Change: Barbara Owens

Women Who Inspire Change: Barbara Owens

Inspiring a love of reading, writing, and journalism is a difficult task for any 10th grade English teacher, but it's especially difficult for a woman who—at 5 feet tall—is smaller than most of her students. I don't think I fully understood at the time what Barbara Owens was up against.


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Women Who Inspire Change: Brígida Concepción Ortega Fleitas

Women Who Inspire Change: Brígida Concepción Ortega Fleitas

My grandmother, Brígida Concepción Ortega Fleitas, was known to me as Lela. Her 11 children—8 girls and 3 boys—were all born in her home in Arroyos y Esteros, Paraguay. Her first child, María Herminia, who we called Aunt Herminia, passed away when she was just 20 years old. At the time of Minina's death, my grandmother was pregnant with her youngest daughter, Mary, who carried the legacy of her eldest sibling by being given the name María Herminia as well.


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Women Who Inspire Change: Mamen Saura

Women Who Inspire Change: Mamen Saura

So many people want to do something good with their time and talent, but often can’t find a way to make it happen. Mamen Saura is not one of them — she has made it her life’s work to use her skills as a professional photographer to give voice to the stories of some of the world's most vulnerable women.


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Women Who Inspire Change: Doortje Braeken

Women Who Inspire Change: Doortje Braeken

I think I peaked pretty early in my career as far as bosses go. I am convinced that Doortje Braeken, the Senior Advisor on Adolescents at IPPF’s Central Office in London, is one of the most dedicated, passionate, and committed women working in the sexual and reproductive health and rights sector today. She has that 'Dutch' touch, a progressive and open-minded commitment to sexual rights that comes from growing up in the small European nation known to Americans as Holland.


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Women Who Inspire Change: Ann Wambui

Women Who Inspire Change: Ann Wambui

In 2007, I worked for six months as a volunteer in a slum in Ngong, Kenya. The organization I worked with, Living Positive, in is located in the Rift Valley. It seeks to improve the health and economic status of impoverished women who are living with HIV/AIDS.


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Women Who Inspire Change: Cepoori and Elsa

Women Who Inspire Change: Cepoori and Elsa

“Do you have a problem with blood?”

“No,” I lied.

“Great, I have a woman coming tomorrow at 10 am.”

That simple exchange left me a changed woman.

I was 22 years old and traveling alone in Mexico. I came to stay with a French-Canadian documentary filmmaker and his Mexican doctor wife, whom I'd met at a speaking event they held several months earlier at my university. We’ll call the doctor 'Cepoori'.


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Women Who Inspire Change: Ashley Judd

Women Who Inspire Change: Ashley Judd

Although I have never met Ashley Judd, I've been fortunate to hear her message of empowerment and self-worth. For me, this message couldn't have come at a better time. 


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Women Who Inspire Change: Eleanor Roosevelt

Women Who Inspire Change: Eleanor Roosevelt

Preparing to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt made her way to the organization’s imposing new headquarters on Manhattan’s East Side. The occasion on March 27, 1958, was a small, scarcely noticed ceremony to release a guide for community-based action on human rights. There, in the hope of rekindling interest in the landmark document that had been forged under her skillful leadership, she uttered several sentences that have become among her most famous:


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Women Who Inspire Change: Evelyn Roquel

Women Who Inspire Change: Evelyn Roquel

Evelyn Roquel is a family planning educator at WINGS. She spends her days traveling around small villages in central Guatemala conducting educational workshops on reproductive health and family planning. Evelyn provides individual counseling to women about their reproductive rights and tells them how they can positively change their own lives and the lives of their families.


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Women Who Inspire Change: Anti-Street Harassment Activists
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