Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Kavita Nandini Ramdas writes in the Sacramento Bee today (reg. reqd.) ...

As a young Indian woman, I attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 ... the resulting Beijing Platform for Action yielded promises by governments to advance gender equality and sustainable development. Ten years later, as leaders, advocates and policy-makers from around the world are meeting in New York City this week to appraise the progress in fulfilling these commitments, I am angry and alarmed at the challenges women still face.

In case Ms. Ramdas has not been paying attention, everyone in the world "still" faces challenges of extraordinary kinds; the Christmas tsunami, the war against HIV/AIDS, the War on Terror, genocide in Darfur, UN duplicity, etc. are just a few problems the people of earth are confronted with.

She continues ...
In the last decade, we have seen the devastating effects of social and economic systems that perpetuate discrimination, disregard and disrespect for the rights of women and girls. Seventeen million women and girls are living with HIV/AIDS; 600,000 die each year from preventable pregnancy complications; an estimated 1 million to 4 million people are sucked into the trafficking trade, many sexually exploited women and girls; and 65 million girls are denied education. All these conditions breach the guarantees ensured by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

This statement leaves the impression men are the world's problem; the lack of a mention of male participation in life's trials makes her world-view seems androphobic.

She goes on ...

Today is International Women's Day, and the world's women want to know: What happened to the resources promised in Beijing to improve health care and education? Who decided that wars about energy resources and conflicts over religious and national differences are more important than our food supplies, our reproductive health, a clean environment and human security?

The violence of war and ongoing military conflicts exacts a terrible toll on women as caregivers - they are the ones who must find water and fuel amid chaos, while coping with the mental anguish of death and displacement.

Talk about selfishness! Someone needs to sit this girl down and inform her how, in just two years, the American people and their allies have done more for women's (read human) rights than all the women's groups combined have done in the past one hundred years.

Kavita Nandini Ramdas is president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women.

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