March 8, 2015
In honor of International Women’s Day, Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom hosted the ninth annual International Women of Courage Awards ceremony on March 6, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk. This year the first female fixed-wing Afghan Air Force pilot in Afghanistan, Captain Niloofar Rahmani, was honored with the award. Deputy Secretary Higginbottom commended her “For her bravery in the face of threats of violence and commitment to an inclusive future for Afghanistan’s women and girls, we honor Captain Rahmani as a woman of courage.” Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored 76 women from 49 countries and territories.