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Top female football player visits Sierra Leone to empower women

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Summary of story from the UN News Centre, September 1, 2011

Brazilian football player Marta Vieira da Silva is on a mission to Sierra Leone to highlight efforts to empower women in the West African nation that is recovering from years of conflict.

Known as Marta, the world’s top female football player will promote the empowerment of women as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Development Programme.

During the visit, Marta will meet with young women and advocacy groups that are lobbying the national parliament to enact laws that would include women at all levels of political decision making.

“Women’s full participation in leadership and decision making is critical for the consolidation of peace and security, as well as meaningful for overall development in Sierra Leone,” said Mia Seppo, UNDP Country Director.

About 73 percent of women in Sierra Leone are illiterate. Women represent 37 percent of secondary school students and only 19 percent of university students.

Promoting the empowerment of women is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals that seek to end extreme poverty by 2015.

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