Steps toward Making Women's Economic Power and Security Key Policy Goals
Topic: Ask Kate
An Ask Kate question:
Please read this article on the efforts of Secretary of State Clinton: "Clinton Makes Women's Economic Power, Security Key Policy Goals." I am wondering what we can do to help? --Helen
The attention Secretary of State Clinton was able to get for women's legal and social rights, as discussed in this article, exemplifies what women can do when they are in leadership positions and when they have the courage and determination to take action.
But we don't have to be Secretary of State to make a difference. The kinds of things all of us can do to improve the status of women in our country and around the world are: get informed, speak out, take political and personal action, and provide financial support. Here are some suggestions:
Read Women Lead the Way by Linda Tarr-Whelan, former US Ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. She spoke at a Commonweal Institute event on the SF Peninsula in November. She makes a strong case for supporting women gaining decision-making power in our society, in a wide variety of ways. You can get her book here; it's the third one on the list, on the Commonweal Institute's Powell's Books page.
Pressure members of Congress to pass legislation approving the The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) treaty. The US has a shameful record of being one of only four countries to fail to support CEDAW. This shameful failure to support women's rights internationally is due to abortion opponents who are unwilling to let women have the power to decide on what is best for their own lives.
Write to President Obama, telling him you support Hillary Clinton's stance on women's rights and would like to see his administration push for approval of CEDAW. Also let you want him to stop pussy-footing around with the abortion issue. The Right already hates him--he's not going to gain anything by undercutting women.
Want to donate money? The Global Fund for Women provides small grants to encourage women entrepreneurs. It's a very successful nonprofit that supports small women-led projects in developing countries. When women get more financial assets, they are better able to resist coercion and mistreatment by men.
Also check out the Global Justice Center, which is working for international legal equity for women.
Support the candidacy of women whose political positions you agree with--and don't hesitate to judge them on their willingness to speak out and take action on behalf of all women.
Finally, you can encourage and support girls and women in your family and community to set their sights higher--to strive for more education, promotion, and public office. When enough women are making the decisions, the world will be a different place.