Why I fight for woman’s rights

By Henrik Thomé, CEO and founder of Sonetel.

The endless sorrow and pain is clearly visible in her eyes. She listens politely to the questions from the politicians that have come to meet her. Once again she has to tell her story and relive the past.


Nadia Murad, survivor

The burden on her shoulders is more than any 21 year old woman should bear.

Nadia Murad is a brave young Yezidi woman that fled from Daesh (ISIS) where she had been held as a sex slave. Six of her brothers and her mother were murdered by Daesh when her village was invaded. Only the woman and children that could be used as sex slaves were spared.

Nadia has been nominated to the Nobel peace prize and recently spoke to the UN Security council – but despite her endless efforts travelling around the world, speaking to politicians, pleading for help for those still captive, no country has yet taken actions to liberate the thousands of young woman and children still held captive and sold as commodities by Daesh.

While Nadia’s experiences are horrific, they are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the suffering inflicted upon woman around the world.

Woman are routinely raped in war as an intentional strategy to destroy the societies they live in.

But even outside of war, many backward societies with tribal cultures still regard woman as objects and functions rather than individuals. So called “honor cultures” are deeply rooted in many countries and severely limit the abilities for woman to make the most of their lives.

Fadime Sahindal

Fadime Sahindal

When Fadime Sahindahl, the daughter of Kurdish immigrants in Sweden, fell in love with a Swedish man, she also signed her own death certificate. As a well-educated, articulated young woman she was invited to the Swedish parliament to spread knowledge about the problems in honor cultures. Two months later she was dead, shot twice in the head by her father.

Worldwide there are more than 5,000 woman murdered every year due to so called “honor killings” or “shame killings”. Over 700 million woman live in marriages they were forced into while still being children. 130 million woman suffer the consequences of genital mutilation.

As soon as numbers become this large it becomes difficult to grasp all the underlying suffering. It just becomes statistics. But behind every woman in the statistics, there is a tragedy.

To me this is all a matter of Human rights.

Everyone should have the same rights in life, regardless who they were born to be, regardless of color of skin, gender or sexual orientation.

While the amount of suffering and injustice in the world can make things seem hopeless at times, I actually believe that there is hope.

All cultures are made by people. This means that people also can change cultures – and change can actually happen quickly as long as there is awareness.

I am personally engaged in doing voluntary work for organizations that fight for woman’s rights in order to help spread awareness and knowledge. The interview I did with Nadia Murad yesterday was on behalf of GAPF – a Swedish organization working for Woman’s rights.

I truly believe that change is possible and that it starts by creating awareness.

To me every day is International Woman’s day.

I urge you to take a stand in this issue and stand up for human rights – and for the rights of woman.

Henrik Thomé 7

Henrik Thomé
Founder and CEO of Sonetel


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