SUPPORT GENDER EQUALITY

Trust In Education is enlisting your support in promoting the advancement of women’s rights around the world, employing a strategy that has yet to be openly adopted by our government.

To sign the online petition, please click here: GENDER EQUALITY PETITION

As Hillary Clinton moves out and on, news commentators have recently remarked how she successfully championed and advanced women’s rights, during her four years as Secretary of State.  Whether her successor will do the same, remains to be seen.  The extent of  our support for women’s rights, beyond our borders, is determined by our national priorities.
From what I’ve observed over the past nine years, programs promoting women’s rights and empowering women are not central to our foreign policy. Moreover, they must not jeopardize our “strategic interests”, namely oil, commerce, and national security.
Evidence of their current standing can be found by listening to the foreign policy debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Not once, during the entire 90 minutes, will you hear the words women, women’s rights or gender equality. That was true of the questions and answers.  Women’s rights and gender equality are not part of our foreign policy debate.

Nelab

The United States government, and Trust in Education for that matter, have adopted what is essentially a hope strategy.  We educate and advocate, trusting that women will become “empowered”, acquire more rights over time, and “things will get better”. We just need to be patient.

My patience has been exhausted by an endless stream of  reported atrocities committed against women, including the videotaped public execution by a Taliban militant of an Afghan woman, accused of adultery.

The execution occurred in front of a cheering crowd of 150 men, in a village 60 miles from Kabul.  One of the men used his cell phone to video the execution and it has been posted on You Tube. Not one person in the video tried to stop her execution.  Women will not achieve equality, where women rights advocates are fired, shunned, ignored, ostracized, beaten, imprisoned, brutalized and killed, with impunity.

The world was deeply saddened and outraged by the shooting, last October, in Pakistan, of Malala Yousufzai, a fourteen year old girl who did nothing more than advocate that girls should be allowed to attend school.  Her assailants later threatened to kill her and her father, if she survived.

Who among us would be willing to openly advocate gender equality in Malala’s village? How many of us would allow our daughters to attend school, after the attack? Tens of thousands of Afghan girls are not going to school for security reasons alone. In case you haven’t heard, Malala survived. For a recent report on her condition CLICK HERE .

We must also accept the fact that there are millions of men who have absolutely no interest in giving up their power over women, regardless of how educated they become. For these men, male supremacy is the “natural order of things”.  The “natural order” doctrine was  codified in Afghanistan on March 2, 2012 by the Ulema Council, an influential council of clerics, supported by the Afghan government.

The Ulema Council adopted a code of conduct for women, that included a finding that “men are primary and women are secondary”.  The code also contained the following rules;”Women should not travel without a male guardian, and women should not mingle with strange men in such places as schools, markets or offices… Beating one’s wife is prohibited only if there is no Shariah-compliant reason.”

President Karzai endorsed the code of conduct four days after it was issued.  To access a Washington Post article  reporting on the code CLICK HERE.

Members of the Ulema Council are among the most powerful and educated religious leaders in Afghanistan. Yet, these “educated men” established a code of conduct founded upon the premise that “men are primary” and “women secondary”. This is a top down pronouncement of male supremacy, endorsed by the government. Whatever education we provide or support will have absolutely no impact on male supremacists.  Their education has led them to the conclusion that women are “secondary”, not equals.

So, what can we do, other than educate and advocate?

We put our money where are values lie. We announce to the world that the United States cares about women, women’s rights, and gender equality and that our foreign aid dollars will be allocated accordingly. The petition(resolution) we drafted to accomplish these objectives is;

      Gender equality is an inalienable right that civil societies should strive to achieve, including those receiving American foreign aid.  To that end, we support the following:

        1.    That the United States foreign policy recognize and include the promotion and attainment  of gender equality as one of its top priorities.

       2.    That in allocating foreign aid, the United States government be required to take into consideration the extent to which a country has laws and regulations, or has taken actions that, promote or adversely impact the achievement of gender equality.

Note that this petition does not require a country to do anything. It simply provides, that in allocating foreign aid dollars, we will take into consideration a countries’ stance and actions taken toward achieving gender equality. Countries can choose to do nothing and still apply for aid. Their support for gender equality or lack thereof will impact their chances of receiving aid. The choice is theirs. Transparency and verifiability will, of course, be required.

I am not advocating that the United States or anyone else stop providing humanitarian aid. Nor should we abandon education and advocacy as tools to achieve gender equality. They work. But, they are too slow and totally ineffective where male supremacists reign.

How can you become involved?

Forward this email to a friend. Bring the resolution to whatever groups you belong to and ask for their endorsement. Send us an email if this is something you support and urge others to do the same at trustineducation@gmail.com. Include whatever advice you have and let us know whether and how you would be willing to help.

When you have time, watch the video we just posted on You Tube of a portion of the presentation given at Acalanes High School. Nabi and I discuss gender equality and answer questions from the audience regarding cultural differences in Afghanistan impacting women. CLICK HERE to access the video. Send the video link to your friends.

girl with fistsFinally, go open a window and shout, I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to sit by anymore”.  Then CLICK HERE and watch the Mad as Hell scene from Network. Let’s “get mad” together. It’s the most important work we can do for women, and for that matter, the world.

Budd

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