Winifred Byanyima (born 13 January 1959) is a Ugandan-born aeronautical engineer, politician, and diplomat. She is the executive director of UNAIDS, effective November 2019. Before that, served as the executive director of Oxfam International, to which she was appointed in May 2013. Also, she served as the director of the Gender Team in the Bureau for Development Policy at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from 2006.
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- The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors.
- It’s hard to find a political or business leader who doesn’t say they are worried about inequality. It’s even harder to find one who is doing something about it. Many are actively making things worse by slashing taxes and scrapping labor rights.
- People are ready for change. They want to see workers paid a living wage; they want corporations and the super-rich to pay more tax; they want women workers to enjoy the same rights as men; they want a limit on the power and the wealth which sits in the hands of so few. They want action.
- As the Executive Director of UNAIDS, I lead the work of the United Nations to tackle AIDS. I’m also someone who has lost family members to AIDS. This is personal. Both my own family experience and our collective experience at the United Nations have highlighted the same key lesson: the struggle to beat AIDS is inseparable from the struggle for women’s rights and from the struggle against all forms of discrimination. AIDS can be beaten, but it will only be beaten if we take on the social and economic injustices that perpetuate it and spur more scientific innovations to address the real needs of women and girls and people living with and vulnerable to HIV.
- Worldwide, AIDS remains the biggest killer of women aged 15–49 years. To end AIDS by 2030, we must end gender-based violence, inequality and insecurity and we must ensure that women and girls have equal access to education, health and employment. We need to transform our societies so that no one is second class and everyone’s human rights are respected. AIDS cannot be beaten while marginalized communities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, people who inject drugs and sex workers, live in fear of the state or of socially sanctioned violence and abuse. Beating AIDS depends on tackling all forms of discrimination. I want to thank all the brave and determined social justice movements who are the true leaders in this work. I salute you.
- Feminism, human rights and zero discrimination are values deeply rooted across the world: they express our humanity, our recognition that I am because you are. And they are central to the struggle to beat AIDS. Let us beat AIDS. It can be done.