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Women’s Movement Is World Wide! Part 2

The Internationalization of Women’s Issues

By Luisita Lopez Torregrosa

Published: January 8, 2013

 

Separately, the Women in the World Foundation, which will have its fourth annual

conference in New York City in April, announced that a fund-raising appeal in the

name of Ms. Yousafzai had collected more than $100,000 in donations that the

foundation said would go toward girls’ education in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Some progress has been made on that score. “In countries around the world, we

see women’s educational achievement growing to the point that in many countries,

more women than men are attending university,” says Liza Mundy, a fellow at the

New America Foundation and author of “The Richer Sex,” about the rising number

of female breadwinners. The near-fatal shooting of Ms. Yousafzai, she says,

“demonstrated the real import of schooling for girls and women, and it also shows

how deeply threatening this can be to extreme traditionalists.”

 

Taking on another big issue, Catalyst, a nonpartisan organization for the advancement

of women in business, is kicking off a plan to get more women onto corporate boards.

“We expect 2013 to be the year when momentum builds for women in leadership,”

Ilene H. Lang, Catalyst’s president and chief executive, said by e-mail. “Corporate

boards are top priority.” Women hold only 16.6 percent of Fortune 500 board seats.

To help close that gender gap, Catalyst plans to enlist chief executives who would

sponsor board-ready women into leadership positions. In Europe, Viviane Reding,

the commissioner for justice, is leading another big push for women on boards. Allied

activists have produced a register of thousands of board-ready women to counter

arguments that there is a shortage of qualified candidates.

A big lift to American women came with the record number of women (20) who won

seats in the U.S. Senate. The old tag “Year of the Woman” has been revived, and fresh

momentum injected into the campaign to elect a woman president in 2016.

 

It’s no news that Hillary Rodham Clinton – recovering from a blood clot and other illnesses

is the undisputed Democratic front-runner. But the names of Democratic female senators

also pop up, including Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and the newly elected Elizabeth

Warren of Massachusetts.

 

The female senators make up just 20 percent of the 100-member Senate but are drawing

outsize attention. Known challenges await them in and out of Congress, like efforts to

restrict abortion rights and cut back or end federal funding for women’s health programs

like Planned Parenthood.

 

Familiar issues like equal pay, workplace policies, family-work balance and political power

haven’t gone away in the United States or anywhere else. Basic needs and basic rights

remain elusive for many women in the developing world. And those issues, too, will not go

away anytime soon.

 

But more women in more regions of the world are stepping up and living better lives, just

about everyone in the field agrees. And as the old women’s issues become global, the

expectations rise, and the challenges get larger.

 

With the globalization of women’s issues, world organizations are drumming up the

support of activists the world over, of marquee names and celebrities. At the first Trust

Women conference, convened by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the International

Herald Tribune in London in December, participants and speakers – from Queen Noor of

Jordan to Christy Turlington – debated complex issues like sexual slavery, child marriage,

and the role of women in the Arab world.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

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