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Brita Fernandez Schmidt

Executive Director, Women for Women International - UK

Brita Fernandez Schmidt serves as the Executive Director of Women for Women International - UK. She is responsible for the operation and management of Women for Women International in the UK and Europe. Brita Fernandez Schmidt is an advocate and promoter of women’s empowerment, women’s rights and equality. She frequently writes about the challenges women face all over the world in the context of poverty and conflict. Brita has led several influential women’s organisations and networks. She currently runs Women for Women International - UK as Executive Director. She has grown the organisation from when it first started in the UK to a medium-sized charity which is helping thousands of women in countries affected by conflict and raising millions through effective and innovative donor relationships and partnerships. She is also the Chair of Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS) and Global Ambassador for Roundtable Global. Previously she was a Commissioner to the UK Women’s National Commission, Chair of the Gender and Development Network, Director for Programmes & Policy at Womankind Worldwide, board member of BOND and she started her career at the European Women’s Lobby. Brita holds a MA in Women’s Studies from the University of Sussex. Originally from Germany, Brita went to school in Venezuela. She now lives in the UK with her husband and two daughters.

Engaging Men - From Nangarhar to Hollywood

If we can change the hearts and actions of men in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, surely it's time for discriminatory and predatory norms in boardrooms and homes across the West to change as well.
18/10/2017 14:50 BST

Sexual Violence In Conflict Is More Than 'Rape As A Weapon Of War'

We do not accept that violence against women and girls occurring in conflict is fundamentally separate from more everyday 'normal' forms of VAWG (like domestic violence). It all comes back to the way women are treated in society, with a premium placed on women's sexual purity as part of wider controls and discrimination on women's bodies, behaviour and appearance.
30/10/2016 21:46 GMT

Reflecting on World Refugee Day 2016

Women, who are among the most disadvantaged, have become responsible for protecting and providing for themselves and their children with next to nothing in hand yet they bring enormous resilience to the task of survival and step courageously outside traditional roles to keep families afloat. That's why we must continue to invest in these solutions.
24/06/2016 09:09 BST

Opportunity Over Hopelessness: Syrian Women's Impact on Peace

Syrian women's participation in building peace is not just about seats in Geneva but must reach out to a broad and diverse range of women's groups working with Syrian women affected by the conflict, providing both humanitarian assistance and long-term support to help women's economic and social participation. Simply put, stronger women build stronger nations.
14/03/2016 22:31 GMT

What the #SheInspiresMe Campaign Means to Me

This is a crisis which we cannot ignore - because we know that when we invest in women, we inspire change. For more than 20 years our organisation has witnessed the power of what is possible when we work together with women survivors of war to give them the tools they need to transform their lives.
29/01/2016 10:51 GMT

The World Must Not Fail Syria's Women. Now Is the Time to Act

The dangers facing women are so palpable and real that UN Women has issued urgent requests for humanitarian agencies in the KRI to provide psycho-social support for traumatised women, as well as livelihood programmes for non-camp based women refugees in order to increase their incomes and reduce their vulnerabilities.
20/12/2015 17:25 GMT

Show Us the Money: Driving the Agenda Forward for Women Survivors of Conflict

In July I met with women in Bosnia and Herzegovina who, even twenty years after peace, are still living in a war - unable to escape the constant reminders of the conflict and forced to relive trauma on an almost daily basis. Not knowing what happened to their loved ones and unable to come to terms with the abuse they suffered or any hope of justice or redress.
18/10/2015 18:28 BST

She Could Have Been My Daughter

I have worked for over 20 years helping women around the world to rebuild their lives and fulfil their potential. The crisis that Syrian, Iraqi and Nigerian women are facing right now is playing on my mind every day - I do not want to wait any longer to provide the support they need right now.
30/09/2015 17:58 BST

Bridging the Gap Between the Rule of Law and It's Application for Women Around the World

After almost 35 years, it appears the international community is at last understanding that countering discrimination against women in economic spheres is key to fighting poverty. The benefits that are brought by investing in women are evident not only in the confidence that we see in the women that we work with, but also in the impact that it has on their families and their communities.
30/09/2013 10:02 BST