Name: Zarin Hainsworth
What she does: Promotes gender equality, diversity and women’s rights at grassroots and international levels
Impact: Has helped change negative attitudes towards widows in Tanzania
Nominated by: NAWO (National Alliance of Women’s Organisations)
Zarin has worked tirelessly for many years as a leader and supporter of a range of organisations working towards gender equality, diversity and women’s access to their human rights. Her values stem from her strong belief in the Baha’i faith which stresses the equality of women and men and the principles of balance and partnership. She lives these principles to the best of her ability and has been successful both in her example and through the impact of her work. She makes a difference.
A recent and practical example of her work is her arrangement to bring 16 young women and men to participate in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN in February-March 2011. She engaged the support of schools, the parents and families of the youngsters, trained them in preparation for their visit and for the presentations they made there. She enlisted the support of two organisations – the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) and Widows Rights International (WRI) and together they chaired sessions on violence and education and employment. Zarin engaged the young people in the problems women face and supported them to write and perform so that they came across as extraordinarily mature and well informed. None of the young people would have been present; or the impact possible without Zarin’s imagination, belief and knowledge.
Zarin also achieved a considerable coup in enabling Cissa Yahumba, Secretary General, UNA Congo, to attend CSW and talk first hand about the terrible experiences of women as victims of rape as a weapon of war and of the rapid and exponential growth in the numbers of widows in conflict-torn areas such as theCongo. Zarin went on to share these findings in the UK, at the Baha’i centre and the Houses of Parliament. This example of a man dealing with a major issue for women reflects Zarin’s belief in and practice of working also with boys and men as partners to improve the status of women world wide.