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What a year. 2017 saw women marching in the streets, overturning archaic laws and demanding workplace equality. We proclaimed #MeToo, got behind the wheel of progress and… nevertheless, persisted. From both inside the Vital Voices network and around the world, it was ” The Year Of”… well, so much. Check out some of the powerful moments that added up to a dizzying, significant year of change.

The Year Of…



Get behind the wheel with Manal al-Sharif. Hear from the trailblazing activist who helped spark the movement that, in September, overturned Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving

VV GROW, the leading accelerator for women entrepreneurs, transformed from regional convenings to a global gathering

Jordan repealed the controversial “Marry Your Rapist” law in August; activist and lawyer Asma Khader helped lead the fight.



#MeToo became the unprecedented, much-needed rallying cry to highlight the magnitude of sexual assault and harassment faced by women around the world. Time Magazine named “The Silence Breakers” Person of the Year.

Elizabeth Warren, the Senator from Massachusetts, became a symbol for the power of speaking up, influencing women across the globe.  

Young girls in our HERlead Fellowship are voicing their visions for a new reality, improving their communities and beyond



During its fifth anniversary year, our groundbreaking Global Ambassadors Program – a partnership between Vital Voices and Bank of America – came to the United States for the first time, celebrating five years of Mentorship

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership draws on the knowledge and expertise of America’s most accomplished leaders to empower women professionals from countries around the world.

The VVLead Fellowship, in partnership with Pond’s, kicked off the year with the program’s first convening in South Africa, bringing together global change-makers to ignite a new movement in women’s leadership.



This year, in celebration of International Women’s Day, over 100 members of the Global Leadership Network led 126 Global Mentoring Walks in 60 countries. Through their efforts, nearly 13,000 participants worldwide came together across cultures, generations, religions, countries, and identities to pay it forward through mentorship.

2017 was a banner year for our growing regional Councils, which provide a groundswell of year-round support for our organization. 

The sound of millions of feet marching as one for women’s equality reverberated around the world at the Women’s March in January. 



We honored five men who have shown courage and compassion in advocating on behalf of women and girls at our Voices of Solidarity event this year. Watch their inspiring acceptance remarks

The word Feminism received a global facelift this year, with men, women, young and old debating and identifying with it so much that Merriam-Webster deemed it the word of the year

The Justice Institutes on Gender-Based Violence brought together judges, prosecutors, NGOs and other local service providers around the globe to make the laws keep their promise.



The celebration of International Women’s Day came to fruition at the 16th Annual Global Leadership Awards this year. We honored five incredible women leaders from around the world working to strengthen democracy, increase economic opportunity and protect human rights. 

The Global Freedom Exchange brought 22 women leaders together in September for a two-week fellowship focused on curbing the tide of human trafficking around the world.

This year, the Vital Voices Human Rights team marked its 500th (and counting) “urgent assistance” cases through Voices Against Violence: The GBV Global Initiative (VAV).

stories of impact

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