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A conference by Thomson Reuters Foundation

Apply for the Trust Women Hero Award

The Trust Women Awards honour exceptional individuals who have raised awareness and provided real solutions to the challenges faced by women worldwide.

The Trust Women Hero Award celebrates an innovator whose bold thinking and high-impact work has helped women defend and advance their rights. Nominations are made by the public: last year, we received 160 outstanding nominations from over 50 countries. Candidates are judged based on their leadership and the innovation, impact and scalability of their work.

The 2015 Hero Award winner will be selected by our prestigious Trust Women Advisory Board and receive a cash prize of $5,000 to further their work. They will also be acknowledged with profiles on the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Trust Women Conference websites. The winner will be unveiled at an evening ceremony at the Trust Women Conference in London on 17 November.

Hero Award application

  • Awards 2014

The Hero Award 2014

Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder of BRAC

Fazle is Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, the largest non-profit organization in the world. He has worked for decades to eliminate gender injustice and encourage equality, diversity, and inclusiveness in impoverished communities. He believes that women’s social and economic empowerment is central to ending poverty. BRAC has established more than 10,000 empowerment clubs across Asia and Africa, where trained mentors educate girls on issues of gender equality, early marriage, and family planning. 

PROFILE: Why helping the poor is an obsession for BRAC

Past winners

Dr. Judi Aubel, co-founder and executive director of the Grandmother Project

Dr. Judi Aubel is co-founder and executive director of the Grandmother Project, an international non-profit organization that develops programmes to promote the well-being and rights of women and children in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Grandmother Project’s innovative approach to promoting change through culture, grandmothers are a key resource and communication between generations is promoted. A specialist in community health and development and in approaches that empower communities to promote their own well-being, Dr. Aubel has 20 years’ experience working with communities to strengthen their community health and education programmes and is a published author.

Alaa Murabit, Founder and President, The Voice of Libyan Women

Alaa Murabit is seen as a visionary and pioneer in Libya, helping to put women’s rights at the heart of the country’s new political landscape. She founded The Voice of Libyan Women (VLW), an organisation that advocates against gender violence and trains women to participate in government and speak out for their rights to be recognised in national policies. Her latest campaign is “Noor”, using the Quran as a lens to help combat domestic violence and teach people about the proper treatment of women. It is the first women’s rights project to receive the approval of Dar al Ifta, Libya’s religious institution, giving the campaign legitimacy in the eyes of the public.

The 2012 Hero Award was supported by Team SCA, the all women’s ocean racing team, which is part of SCA, a global leading hygiene and forest products company that provides personal and intimate hygiene knowledge and products for women. We received over 130 nominations for this Award from more than 45 countries.

The Honorary Journalist Award 2014

Chika OduahFreelance Journalist & Producer at Al Jazeera

Chika Oduah is a multimedia journalist with a particular focus on African current events, human rights advocacy and indigenous cultures. She has covered a number of issues from food security in Tanzania to female genital mutilation in Togo.  From her current base in Nigeria, Chika reports on the West Africa Region for international news outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian, Global Post and Al Jazeera. 

PROFILE: Nigeria journalist puts faces to girls kidnapped by Boko Haram

Past winners

Lydia Cacho, award-winning Mexican journalist, author, feminist and human rights activist

Lydia Cacho is an award-winning Mexican journalist, author, feminist and human rights activist who has published hundreds of news articles, seven books and a collection of essays on human rights. She has received death threats for her reporting but refuses to leave Mexico, despite offers of asylum. In 2012 she published Slavery Inc., which uses investigative reporting to expose the underground economy of sex trafficking worldwide. She founded a women’s shelter in Cancun and was the first woman to bring a case before Mexico’s Supreme Court following her imprisonment on defamation charges after the publication of her book, Demons of Eden, in which she investigates child sexual abuse and pedophilia rings.

Neha Dixit, Freelance Journalist, South Asia

Neha Dixit is a freelance investigative journalist who covers gender issues, development and conflict in South Asia. Based in New Delhi, she is known for her hard-hitting stories on commercial sex exploitation, child marriage, female feticide and forced labour. She often carries out investigations at considerable risk to herself and has received many international awards for her work. Dixit’s reports include “The Nowhere Children”, for which she went undercover to meet traffickers and young victims sold by their families to pimps and placement agents. In “A Taliban of our Very Own”, Dixit tracks the Khap Panchayats across northern India to tell the story of murder, rape and exile being used as routine punishments by these traditional courts. She contributed to the UNESCO Casebook of Investigative Journalism.

Simone Sultana, Chair of BRAC UK, accepts Hero Award from
Queen Noor on behalf of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed

The Hero Award 2013

The Hero Award was presented by Queen Noor to Alaa Murabit, Founder and President, The Voice of Libyan Women.

Alaa Murabit is seen as a visionary and pioneer in Libya, helping to put women’s rights at the heart of the country’s new political landscape. She founded The Voice of Libyan Women (VLW), an organisation that advocates against gender violence and trains women to participate in government and speak out for their rights to be recognised in national policies. Her latest campaign is “Noor”, using the Quran as a lens to help combat domestic violence and teach people about the proper treatment of women. It is the first women’s rights project to receive the approval of Dar al Ifta, Libya’s religious institution, giving the campaign legitimacy in the eyes of the public.

The 2013 Hero Award was supported by Team SCA, the all women’s ocean racing team, which is part of SCA, a global leading hygiene and forest products company that provides personal and intimate hygiene knowledge and products for women. We received over 130 nominations for this Award from more than 45 countries.

The 2013 hero finalists included: Nazma Akter – President, Aware Women’s Action for Justice Foundation and President, Combined Garment Workers Federation; Laura Bates – Founder of the Everyday Sexism Project; Franz Gastler – Founder and Executive Director, Yuwa; Anu George Canjanathoppil – Director of Google Interventions Project for the International Justice Mission; Founder, WeCe; Suave Fellow 2010-2011; Anuradha Koirala – Founder, Maiti Nepal; Julienne Lusenge – President of the Board, Women’s Solidarity for Peace and Integrated Development (SOFEPADI); Director, Congolese Women’s Fund (FCC); Maysoun Odeh Gangat – Executive Director of Radio Nisaa FM; Mariana Petersel – President of Association Generatie Tanara Romania and Director of Not For Sale Romania; and Li Ying – Executive Director, Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Consulting Services Center; Executive Director, Anti-Domestic Violence Network (ADVN).

The Honorary Journalist Award 2013

The Honorary Journalist Award was presented by Mariane Pearl to Neha Dixit, Freelance Journalist, South Asia

Neha Dixit is a freelance investigative journalist who covers gender issues, development and conflict in South Asia. Based in New Delhi, she is known for her hard-hitting stories on commercial sex exploitation, child marriage, female feticide and forced labour. She often carries out investigations at considerable risk to herself and has received many international awards for her work. Dixit’s reports include “The Nowhere Children”, for which she went undercover to meet traffickers and young victims sold by their families to pimps and placement agents. In “A Taliban of our Very Own”, Dixit tracks the Khap Panchayats across northern India to tell the story of murder, rape and exile being used as routine punishments by these traditional courts. She contributed to the UNESCO Casebook of Investigative Journalism.

The 2013 journalist finalists included: Helen Benedict – Journalist, Novelist and Professor at the Columbia Journalism School; Leif Coorlim – Editorial Director and Senior Producer, CNN Freedom Project; Phillip Martin – Senior Reporter, WGBH Radio News in Boston; Senior Fellow, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism; Executive Producer, Lifted Veils Productions; Adjunct Professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Public Policy; Zubeida Mustafa – Freelance Journalist, Dawn; and Farzana Wahidy – Freelance Photojournalist.

Read more about the amazing achievements of the 2013 winners.

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The Hero Award

The Hero Award was presented by Christy Turlington Burns to Dr. Judi Aubel for her innovative bold thinking and high-impact work that enables women to empower themselves.

Dr. Judi Aubel is co-founder and executive director of the Grandmother Project, an international non-profit organization that develops programmes to promote the well-being and rights of women and children in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Grandmother Project’s innovative approach to promoting change through culture, grandmothers are a key resource and communication between generations is promoted. A specialist in community health and development and in approaches that empower communities to promote their own well-being, Dr. Aubel has 20 years’ experience working with communities to strengthen their community health and education programmes and is a published author.

The Honorary Journalist Award

The Honorary Journalist Award was presented by Mariane Pearl to Lydia Cacho, who has made a significant contribution to the coverage of women’s rights in 2012.

Lydia Cacho is an award-winning Mexican journalist, author, feminist and human rights activist who has published hundreds of news articles, seven books and a collection of essays on human rights. She has received death threats for her reporting but refuses to leave Mexico, despite offers of asylum. In 2012 she published Slavery Inc., which uses investigative reporting to expose the underground economy of sex trafficking worldwide. She founded a women’s shelter in Cancun and was the first woman to bring a case before Mexico’s Supreme Court following her imprisonment on defamation charges after the publication of her book, Demons of Eden, in which she investigates child sexual abuse and pedophilia rings.