Bangladesh's Fawzia Karim named among International Women of Courage Award recipients

Bangladesh's Fawzia Karim named among International Women of Courage Award recipients

The United States has announced 2024 International Women of Courage Award recipients including Bangladesh Supreme Court lawyer Fawzia Karim Firoze.

Fawzia has fought for the rights of marginalized groups for more than three decades, said State Department on Friday.

She is currently the head of her own law chamber and serves as the Chairperson for the Foundation for Law and Development (FLAD).

Under her leadership, FLAD won a ruling determining that the Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy of 2015 was inadequate to protect the rights of domestic workers.

Fawzia has personally filed approximately 3,000 cases on behalf of garment workers against their employers and helped establish the Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Union Federation (BIGUF) and the Domestic Workers Guidelines, said State Department.

She previously served as the President of the Bangladesh Women Lawyers Association from 2007-2018 and is a founding trustee of the Acid Survivors Trust.

In November 2023, the Bangladesh Supreme Court Administration elected Fawzia to its five-member committee to review sexual harassment cases and make recommendations to the Court.

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and First Lady Jill Biden will host the annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awards ceremony at the White House on March 4.

Now in its 18th year, the Secretary of State’s IWOC Award recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equity and equality, and the empowerment of women and girls, in all their diversity – often at great personal risk and sacrifice.

Since March 2007, the Department of State has recognized more than 190 women from 90 countries with the IWOC Award.

U.S. diplomatic missions overseas nominate one woman of courage from their respective host countries, and finalists are selected and approved by senior Department officials.

Following the IWOC ceremony, the awardees will participate in an in-person International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and additional programming in Los Angeles, during which they will engage with American counterparts on strategies and ideas to empower women and girls around the globe.

Other awardees are Benafsha Yaqoobi (Afghanistan), Volha Harbunova (Belarus), Ajna Jusić (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Myintzu Win (Myanmar), Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello (Cuba), Fátima Corozo (Ecuador), Fatou Baldeh (The Gambia), Fariba Balouch (Iran), Rina Gonoi (Japan), Rabha El Haymar (Morocco) and Agather Atuhaire (Uganda).