Women’s Rights: Both Metric & Source for Global Improvement

Women’s Rights: Both Metric & Source for Global Improvement

I’m going to ask a favor of you. Please set aside everything you’ve ever thought about Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband. It would be easy to let previous conceptions cloud your understanding here. Read/listen to this speech she gave at the U.N. earlier this month (link above). And then let me know what you think.

I am a woman. Some might call me a feminist, though I don’t entirely like all the ideas connoted by the term. I believe women should have equal rights to education and to employment. And yet, at this moment in my life, I choose to be home with my children in the most traditional of feminine roles.

However, when I think about women’s rights in a more global sense, I am reminded of how many rights I have. I have the right to choose whom I will marry, or not marry. I have the right to education: elementary, middle, high school + college and graduate school, if I choose. I have the right to medical care of my choosing. I have the right to seek employment and the right to promotion based upon my merits.

So many women around the world do not have what we, in the United States, consider to be basic human rights.

The thing that is fascinating about this article is that it takes the noble, but narrow, humanitarian goal of women’s rights and raises it a notch. No, Clinton’s perspective raises this issue to one of global importance. And she has given me much food for thought.

Clinton points out that the way women are treated in a culture is a metric for other things going on in that culture. Places where women are not treated well tend to be places that aren’t playing nice with other countries, that are making the world a not-so-safe place to be.

Clinton also points out that, not only is the treatment of women an indicator of other aspects of society and culture and politics, but that when women are granted voice and authority, they influence culture and society and politics in positive ways. Hmmm … food for thought.

Women in the classroom, calling all of us to understanding and tolerance. Women at the table, calling all of us to peace.

At its core, women’s rights is about choices. Right now, my choice is to be home. With my children. And for that choice, I am so very grateful.

[Thanks to @jennifercgrant at www.jennifercgrant.com for the link.]

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