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Friday, March 1, 2013

WOMEN AND INEQUALITY


I, as an older woman, have long witnessed the upsurge of women demanding equality in all phases of their lives. For centuries forces of power have created unfair and inhumane practices toward women around the world. Some headway has been made but it has been slow. There is much work yet to be done. 


Yesterday, in Congress,  the Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized that included new provisions giving protections for gay, lesbian, transgender and Native American women of domestic violence. Here is an informative short article from the LA Times about the reauthorization.

As March is Women's History Month I am including a fine letter wrote by Ela Bhatt, member of the Elders. a group of independent voices not bound by any nation, government or institution. 


"Dear friends,

Many years ago, Mahatma Gandhi said: “Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex.”

Even in 2013, Gandhiji’s words ring too true. On 8 March we mark International Women’s Day, a day to remind our communities that women and girls still face so many obstacles: violence, discrimination, traditions that hold us back. Yet it is also a day of celebration, of recognition that if we can break down these obstacles, women can – and will – transform our societies.

I am inspired by the women peacebuilders from Sudan and South Sudan, with whom my fellow Elder Mary Robinson spent time last month. Even though they were separated by conflict and excluded from formal negotiations, they refused to be silenced. For years, they worked together to bring their communities’ concerns to their political leaders. And when their two countries have been mired in disagreements and hostilities, it is the women who have shown what peace looks like on the ground.

Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is a condition enjoyed by a fair society; a condition which renders war useless. In my experience, in India and elsewhere, it is women who are essential to building this kind of peace. As I have said before, focus on women and you get a provider, an educator, a networker, a forger of bonds. Involve women, and you get the strong, equal, sustainable communities that give people an incentive to plan for the future and maintain a stable society.

We all want to live in a world that is freer, healthier, more prosperous and sustainable. As International Women’s Day approaches, let us ask how our sisters and our daughters can build it, from the ground up.

With best wishes,

Ela Bhatt"




View video below to find out more about THE ELDERS 




19 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. NCmountainwoman -- Thanks for your strong words of agreement. -- barbara

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  2. Wonderful and thanks to you for sharing this letter. So sad that women have suffered through history with violence and being treated in inferior ways, in every aspect.

    On another note. I adore your header shot. Later in life, I totally envision myself living in such an abode.

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    1. Michelle -- I can see you and your husband living in a place like this -- you seem to so much love country life. Thanks for the nice comment on my photograph of the little ole Kentucky cabin in the woods -- barbara

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  3. Much truth there. I'm in the middle of reading Kingsolvers Poisonwood bible this week. Much truth there as well on Africa, the Bible and certain kinds of men...:(

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    1. troutbirder -- I'm glad you brought up Kingsolvers Poisonwood Bible. I read it about six or seven years ago and thought it was marvelous. Need to reread it as certain parts have become vague but I do remember a bit on what you mentioned. Nice that you commented on this post -- "power" brings on many of the problems we are facing today. thanks -- barbara

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  4. I am so relieved that VAW was renewed. I am also thinking about my cousin, who is a wreck after listening to grand jury testimony from witnesses to a horrible gun murder, where a man killed his girl friend and her mother.

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    1. Hattie -- What gets me is that we even need a law that tells folks they can't have violence against women. My question is what are we doing as a world society to open the doors so violence can occur? Your cousin will experience this testimony for some time -- thanks -- barbara

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  5. We've made a mess of it. As always it will take mom to come clean up after us. Ela's letter reads like fine poetry. You did a nice job sharing this information along with your own thoughts. Oh, and the blog header, it's beautiful.

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    1. Raining Iguanas -- thanks for the nice comment about the blog header. Getting this shot was not easy as it sat so far back from the road -- if you blinked you would have missed it. I stay off private land unless I have permission -- and there was no one around to get permission. When we make a mess we do need to clean it up and there are many who are trying to clean it up -- tough sledding though -- barbara

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  6. Please also remember young Malala Yousufzai from Pakistan and her determination to have an education and the others whose name we don't know.

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    1. claggle -- I am glad that you mention Malala as she definitely is one young women that was determined. Every women of any age is important. They may have names that are only known to family and friends -- names that eventually disapper over time. On my sidebar I listed some photos of women whose names are lost forever. But the idea of womanhood can still be understood by realizing that even without name recognition -- women as a whole have contributed so much. Thanks -- barbara

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  7. Dear Barbara,
    I read this yesterday, but hadn't been logged in. Thank you so much for writing it. I often despair for women & get overwhelmed when I ponder WHY the cruelty exists. Have things changed? Yes but slowly, & still there is so so so much more to change...We are less sheltered in the age of information from the horrors that women encounter in various parts of the world. So hopefully the fuller access to education will continue to make the global change happen. Those changes have to be in the minds, hearts & souls of each of us, cultural shifts are needed...Thank you, Rita

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    1. Rita -- Your words ring out the truth. Working toward change is slow but sure in some cases. My question is where did this attitude toward women come from?? What are its roots? Where does violence from men spring from? So many questions and so few answers. thanks -- barbara

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    2. Barbara, I know.
      Yesterday in my French discussion class the subject was Burundi, as led by a classmate. I added to her presentation by discussing the plight of women in this small country, which is also the plight of women in so much of Africa.... The violence from men seems to come from an ancient past... men have evolved in other ways, why not in HUMANist ways?

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  8. Nice blog! Off to look at the others... Thanks for following my Journal.

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    1. Lori -- blogging offers us a whole world of opinions and information -- I find so many interesting folks out in the blogospere -- thanks for stopping -- barbara

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  9. Pleased to see your recognition of Women's History Month. Good that your post also brought forth more ideas about women elsewhere that U.S. March 8 International Women's Day. If each of your readers would support one of many organizations working to alleviate women's oppression, we could have another Women's Movement--a fourth wave--to join hands around the world. Yes, Elders have a role as models for young women.

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    1. naomi -- Like your idea of women joining hands around the world supporting other less fortunate women. Amazing that so many in Congress voted against the Violence Against Women Act. Shows us that we have a long way to go -- thanks -- barbara

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