Tuesday, March 08, 2005

International Women's Day: Women at the table


Afghani women register to vote

The newly liberated women in Afghanistan and Iraq deserve to be the frontispieces of today’s International Women’s Day celebration. Their heroism and effort is extraordinary. Their hope is inspiring.

Women in war zones suffer in multiple ways. They take over work when the men go to war. They defend their homes. Their children’s lives are disrupted if schools are closed. Vulnerable women may experience sexual exploitation. They are killed.

Taliban era women are hopeful that their sacrifices will yield opportunities for a better life for their daughters.

The United Nations passed Resolution 1325 on 30 October 2000 to address the unique problems faced by women in conflict zones.

Sen. Hillary Clinton gave the keynote speech today in New York City at the Vital Voices Conference on International Women's Day, sponsored by Global Leadership Summit. She said women politicians are less corrupt than men are. It seems UN Resolution 1325 is spot-on. It recommends women be government leaders.

Central to UN Resolution 1325 is the call for newly formed governments to include women in peace negotiations and country rebuilding. This seems fair since they may have suffered disproportionately.

A recent validation of this initiative for women is the governance model of East Timor, following its 25-year-old civil war. East Timor established an independent state and held free elections. Women were elected to 27 percent of the offices.

Vital Voices said today’s conference would focus on forming strategies to achieve increased economic opportunity, political participation, and human rights for women. Great – Lead Our Leaders has the same agenda.

Fidel Castro today honored the women of Cuba to recognize International Women's Day by promising to give them each an electric rice cooker. But reports say there is little electricity and scant supplies of rice. Premiere Castro reportedly got a cut of the appliance sales deal. Sen. Clinton must have had Fidel Castro in mind during her speech today. He fits the bill.

The women in Afghanistan and Iraq have more to celebrate today than the Cuban women. The newly liberated Middle Eastern women have been invited to the table of government. The Cuban women are apparently stuck at an empty kitchen table.


Vital Voices global partnership to empower women in developing countries.

What compelling websites have you found that help women abroad?

Do you have an inspiring story to share about a woman who has been helped by the support of others? Please share her story with us.

Service is being committed and being a part of the community in which you live, and it means that you get as well as you give. Hillary Rodham Clinton, White House youth ceremony, 20 April 1993