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21 Leaders for the 21st Century: Carmen Barroso

Women's eNews | 1-1-2014

Meet the Women's eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century 2014. Each one vividly demonstrates the power and impact of carrying forward the insistence on equality and equity for women and girls. Many of our leaders this year work globally, while others act locally. Together they create and continually expand the chorus of voices singing the same song: Women's rights are human rights.

This year's leaders also illustrate that the commitment to human rights leaps across generations, from the 1800s abolitionist movements to suffragists of the 1900s, from activist progenitors to today's innovative advocates using film and personal appearances to spread the message.

A dose of blatant gender discrimination in her native Brazil squelched Carmen Barroso's dreams of a tech career, but gave rise to her dedication to women's rights, including reproductive health. In 1991, she became the first non-American woman to be appointed director of a major U.S. foundation when she became director of the MacArthur Foundation's Population and Reproductive Health program. She left that position in 2003 to become the regional director of International Planned Parenthood Federation-Western Hemisphere Region. Her role, she said, permits her to change the world in a pragmatic way, overseeing the care of teens and women throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.

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