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Women and Girls aims to give our readers a deeper understanding of the issues that impact female populations around the world. Our reporters and editors are committed to telling vitally important stories in areas like health, education and women’s rights, and fostering a more sustained engagement with the biggest challenges facing women and girls today.

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One Year of Women & Girls on News Deeply

In our first year, we’ve brought you insights into the lives of women and girls around the world. We look back on the best of our coverage, and give a hint of what’s to come in the year ahead.

Written by Megan Clement, Jihii Jolly Published on Read time Approx. 7 minutes
India society women empowerment
Indian girls learn self-defence in Mangarh, Uttar Pradesh, in September 2016. Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto

On May 16, 2016, Women & Girls went live on News Deeply. We had then, and still have, one mission: to shine a light on the stories of women and girls in the developing world, from their greatest challenges to their most remarkable successes.

A year when the wars in Syria and Yemen raged, when the threat of famine swept sub-Saharan Africa and when the U.S. reintroduced the global gag rule, was also a year when Colombia found peace, when the Ebola epidemic was declared over and when more than 4 million women around the world marched for their rights.

In our first year, we gave you fresh perspectives on those big stories and introduced you to the unsung heroes fighting for better healthcare, for access to education and for safety from violence, from India to South Sudan to Brazil.

The U.N. has set a goal to achieve gender equality by 2030. The only way to achieve this is to listen to women from around the world and focus on what is needed to bring about financial, social and political equality. These solutions can be as small as providing sanitary pads to schoolgirls or as big as ending a war.

If the past 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that the world is full of extraordinary women and girls, making important gains – often against the odds. Here’s to the many more we will meet, and introduce to our readers, in the months and years to come.

– The Women & Girls Team

In a recent survey, the vast majority of our readers told us they come to News Deeply for fresh insight from experts. As we look ahead to understand the biggest issues facing women and girls today, we’ve spoken with seven experts and asked them all a single question: In your field, where have we made gains and where are we falling behind for women and girls?

Our community has grown enormously this past year, helping us offer insight and analysis on education, extremism, health, culture and much more. This week, we want to offer you to the opportunity to ask a gender expert anything you want. We’ll turn to our community and get your question answered for you.

Tweet your questions using #askagenderexpert on Twitter this week.

Protesters gather in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 21, 2017, for the international Women’s March. (Bryan Jaybee/Anadolu Agency)

There are so many ways to cover women and girls’ issues, and millions of stories to tell. To guide our coverage this year, we’ve selected ten topics that we think matter most when talking about women and girls in the developing world. They’ve resulted in some of our favorite, and most-read, pieces.

There is no doubt that the highlights of Women & Girls are the local heroes who are effecting change in the face of huge odds. From the women helping to stamp out extremism to those lifting themselves out of poverty or providing healthcare to those who need it most, to the girls inspiring their peers to expand their ideas of what a girl can do, here are our favorite gender champions.

Stella Nyanzi: This Ugandan academic and activist has been fighting to provide free sanitary pads to schoolgirls so they can stay in education. Now she is on trial for “cyber harassment” after calling the government out on its failure to live up to its promises to the girls of Uganda.

Stella Nyanzi on the Fight to Get Free Pads for Uganda’s Schoolgirls

Fatima Nazari: There are only 12 female skiers in Afghanistan, where the deep conservatism of the Taliban still casts a shadow over the future of women and girls. Fatima Nazari is not only the best female skier in the country, she’s also encouraging her peers to take up the sport with her. As she says: “Why can’t girls do it?”

The Afghan Skier Challenging Girls to Hit the Slopes

Taking to the mountains and breaking down barriers. (Hereward Holland)

Emmah Kariuki: Starting out as a health worker for the government, Emmah Kariuki now provides vital reproductive healthcare in the slums of Nairobi. Her 18 years of experience guide her in helping mothers make healthy choices for themselves and their families.

The Midwife Who’s Busting Birth Control Myths in Kenya

Marguerite Barankitse: For decades, Burundi’s Marguerite Barankitse has been told she is mad. Mad for taking in more than 30,000 children orphaned by civil war. Threatened by militias, she has had to leave her home country, but that hasn’t stopped her in her quest to protect Burundi’s children. “No one can stop love,” she says. “And no one can stop me.”

The ‘Madwoman’ Giving Burundi’s Civil War Orphans a Second Chance

Akuja de Garang: Fleeing the violence of Sudan’s civil war at the age of eight, Akuja de Garang knows first-hand how important educating girls can be. Were it not for her schooling as a refugee in Egypt, she would never be where she is now: an MBE and one of the world’s leading advocates for keeping girls in school.

From Refugee to MBE: Akuja de Garang’s Quest to Keep Girls in School

Throughout our first year we’ve shone a light on key issues that require more analysis than can be provided in a single article. We’ve tackled the topics of domestic violence, the role of women in extremism, refugee education and the burden of women’s cancers with in-depth series that address the scale of the problems and identify potential solutions. You can explore our dedicated series pages here:

The Hidden Crime: How to tackle the secret epidemic of domestic violence.

Women & Jihad: Our investigation of the women who turn to extremism, and those who fight it.

Choice and Change: The challenges and benefits of helping women access the family planning they need.

The Shifting Burden: Understanding the rise of breast cancer in the developing world.

At her home in Eastern Cape, South Africa, a woman shows the wounds and scars she carries as a result of being beaten by her husband. (AFP/Gianluigi Guercia)

Do you subscribe to our weekly newsletter? If not, subscribe here for a summary of the issues affecting women and girls around the world, both in the news and on Women & Girls.

Interested in joining our community and shaping the future of News Deeply? Fill out this short survey. It will take less than five minutes, and your feedback will help us improve our coverage in the coming year.

Are you an expert who would like to write for us or a media organization that would like to partner with us? Contact Community Editor Jihii Jolly at jihii@newsdeeply.com.

Join our community to help shape the future of Women & Girls. (Cris Faga/NurPhoto)

As we enter year two of Women & Girls, we remain dedicated to covering the issues that matter most. In the next 12 months we’ll continue our investigation into the extent of domestic violence worldwide, we’ll launch our dedicated topics channels, focus on the roles women can play in peace building and engage our community of experts to provide key insight into the solutions we need to reach gender parity.

We hope you’ll join us.

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