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Online news service also announces major advances and setbacks for women in 2003.

NEW YORK, N.Y.– “Women’s eNews will honor extraordinary female newsmakers from around the globe–including 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi and AFL-CIO leader Linda Chavez-Thompson–selected as 21 Leaders for the 21st Century on Thursday, May 20th at a celebratory dinner at New York’s Tribeca Rooftop.

The honorees will be introduced by one of four New York broadcast and internet journalists–Susie Gharib, PBS; Maria Hinojosa, CNN; Frances A. McMorris, Women’s eNews; and Lynn Scherr, ABC.

Major advancements made by women during the past year were also announced today by the award-winning online news service. They are the result of the demonstrated commitment of women leaders to create change on behalf of all women.

Women’s eNews editor in chief Rita Henley Jensen says, “As tracked in our coverage, women made significant advances in the areas of entrepreneurship, both at home and internationally, even in Rwanda, only ten years after the genocide; in protecting women’s athletic programs under Title IX; in making new medical approaches available to secure women’s reproductive rights; and in reversing age-old discriminatory practices, as reflected in the African movement to end female-genital mutilation.

“At the same time,” Jensen continues, “we are tracking and reporting on major setbacks, such as the current administration’s efforts to limit abortion and birth control, including the elimination of $34 million for international family planning.

“We also cover the on-going efforts of women in such nations as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and even in the more secular Egypt to end customs that limit their freedoms, including the heroic efforts being made by our honorees to improve representation and to change restrictive laws.”

Honorees This Year

The honorees this year are:

a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Iran, Shirin Ebadi, who fought successfully to secure women’s rights in her nation, and

a Mexican-American daughter of sharecroppers, Linda Chavez-Thompson, who rose to the highest ranks of the AFL-CIO and insisted that affiliate unions also include women in their leadership;

and an Olympic gold medalist in swimming and television sports commentator, Donna de Varona, who co-authored the minority report that kept the Title IX law from being changed–the law that has provided opportunities for a generation of women athletes.

Several visionary entrepreneurs are also represented: Connie Duckworth, Anne Glauber and Margarita Quihuis, who are funding the efforts of women here and worldwide to build new lives for themselves and their communities, especially in war-torn countries such as Rwanda and Afghanistan.

Other honorees include:

Lois Abraham and Jane Roberts, a lawyer and a retired French linguist and teacher, committed to fundraising for the United Nations Population Fund so that women have access to safe reproductive health care; a world-famous celebrity,

Jane Fonda, who started an innovative pregnancy prevention program for teens in Georgia;

a teenager from upstate New York, Clotilde Dedecker, who raised funds for a school in Afghanistan;

the winner of the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism, Shadi Sadr of Iran;

and heads of Foundations and Commissions funding groundbreaking work,

including Abigail E. Disney, president, New York Women’s Foundation;

Anne Sutherland Fuchs, chair, New York City Commission on Women’s Issues;

Blu Greenberg, founder, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance;

Christine Grumm of Women’s Funding Network;

Helen LaKelly Hunt, founder, The Sister Fund;

and Faye Wattleton, president, Center for the Advancement of Women.

Three of the honorees are pioneers in the development of programs to protect women who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,

including Tillie Black Bear, who started the first shelter for women of color in the U.S.;

Shahnaz Bukhari, who provides protection for domestic violence victims in Pakistan;

and Byllye Avery, President, Avery Institute for Social Change and founder of the Washington,DC-based Black Women’s Health Imperative, who is currently focused on the provision of affordable healthcare for all people in the U.S.

“The programs nurtured by our 21 honorees are allowing women worldwide to change everything about their lives: From how many babies they will have; to who inherits property, goes to school, holds office, makes decisions,” Jensen explains.

“By delivering this news every day, I believe Women’s eNews enhances women’s ability to participate in democracy: Women can become aware when their hard-won gains are at stake, create communities of interest around these issues and use facts to inform public officials and others in power of their concerns.”

The honorees were nominated by Women’s eNews readers and selected by the Women’s eNews board of directors.

Women’s eNews is the definitive source of substantive news–unavailable anywhere else–covering issues of particular concern to women and providing women’s perspectives on public policy. It enhances women’s ability to define their own lives and to participate fully in every sector of human endeavor.

Launched in June 2000, Women’s eNews is independent, supported by its subscribers, events, foundations and reprint and licensing fees.

With writers and readers around the globe, the Women’s eNews audience stretches from New York City to New Delhi and all points between, reaching an estimated two million readers each month. Women’s eNews is an incubator program of the Fund for the city of New York, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Part of the Fund’s mission is to improve the performance of nonprofit organizations in New York City and therefore the Fund provides oversight of all donations.

For media inquiries, call (718) 622-3232 or e-mail [email protected] For more information or to inquire about subscribing, permissions to reprint or licensing arrangements, e-mail [email protected] or call Sandy at (212) 244-1720. For event reservations, call (212) 866-344-6249 or visit

For more information, including photos and links to the 21 Leaders complete biographies, go to: