Kathmandu – The United States Embassy in Nepal is pleased to announce that transgender rights activist Bhumika Shrestha will be awarded the U.S. Department of States’ prestigious International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award 2022 for her dedication to improving the lives of the LGBTQI+ community. This is the second year in a row that a Nepali has won the award. Last year, Muskan Khatun won for her work against acid attacks.
United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will host the annual IWOC Awards in a virtual ceremony. The First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, will deliver remarks during the event, which will be live streamed on www.state.gov Monday, March 14, at 7:45 p.m. KTM.
Now in its 16th 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. The 2022 IWOC Award ceremony will honor twelve extraordinary women from around the world who are working to build a brighter future for all. Since March 2007, the Department of State has recognized more than 170 women from over 80 countries with the IWOC Award. Following the virtual ceremony, the awardees will participate in an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Virtual exchange to connect with their American counterparts and strengthen the global network of women leaders.
Transgender activist Bhumika Shrestha has advocated for gender minority rights and social justice. Despite stigma and biases against transgender people, Ms. Shrestha helped lead the movement for gender minority recognition. Thanks in large part to her activism, in 2007, Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled that individuals could be identified as a “third/other gender” on citizenship documents. Later in the spring of 2021, she successfully advocated to change her citizenship document from “other” to female.
The U.S. Embassy in Nepal congratulates her on receiving this award and is proud to support women and the LGBTQI+ community in Nepal.