Rita Marque Mbatha - Zimbabwe
An outspoken survivor of sexual harassment at the workplace. Rita Marque Mbatha the founder of Women’s Comfort Corner Foundation is a trailblazer in the fight for justice for women and girls who have been sexually abused. She “walks the talk” on the importance that every rape survivor should be believed, and she works tirelessly with other partners to bring perpetrators to account. She has headed the Commission on Violence Against Women and represented the International Alliance of Women in the African Union. She currently holds the post of Vice President Anglophone at the International Alliance of Women. Thanks to her advocacy she has had a key role in influencing the National Prosecuting Authority in Zimbabwe to have the adverse rulings against survivors of sexual violence in the lower courts reviewed. In order to encourage more victims of sexual violence to speak out, Rita Marque Mbatha is currently recording a video in English and French documenting the sexual harassment she suffered at work.
Horeya Megahed - Egypt
Emily M. Murase - USA
Dr. Emily Murase has dedicated her professional career to advancing the human rights of women. For over 15 years, she served as Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, a local government agency, where she pioneered an equity analysis framework applied to city services, city agencies, and senior appointments to boards and commissions. In partnership with Calvert Investments and Verite, she launched the San Francisco Gender Equity Principles, later adopted by the UN Global Compact as the Women’s Empowerment Principles, to create an equity framework for large corporations.
As a Co-Founder of the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking, she secured a landmark $9 million state grant to end child sex trafficking and, in 2019, received the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. Dr. Murase is the first Japanese American to ever be elected to the San Francisco Board of Education where she served two terms, including as President. She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, the International Women’s Forum, and Soroptimist International of San Francisco. Dr. Murase holds an AB degree in modern Japanese History from Bryn Mawr College, a master’s degree from the UC San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy, and a PhD in communication from Stanford University.
Sheila Byard - Australia