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America's Debate > Archive > Social Issues Archive > [A] Gender Issues > [A] Women's Issues
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jenreiautter
Today (March 8th) is International Women's Day. It's a day that's been around for more than 90 years. Here in the U.S. any recognition of the day is fairly low-key but it's a much bigger holiday in other parts of the world.

I read this recently (from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/womensday1.html )
QUOTE
Some of the issues the U.N. and International Women's Day have focused on include the following:

About 25,000 brides are burned to death each year in India because of insufficient dowries. The groom's family will set the bride on fire, presenting it as an accident or suicide. The groom is then free to remarry.
In a number of countries, women who have been raped are sometimes killed by their own families to preserve the family's honor. Honor killings have been reported in Jordan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and other Persian Gulf countries.
According to the World Health Organization, 85 million to 115 million girls and women have undergone some form of female genital mutilation. Today, this practice is carried out in 28 African countries, despite the fact that it is outlawed in a number of these nations.
Rape as a weapon of war has been used in Chiapas, Mexico; Rwanda, Kuwait, Haiti, Colombia, Yugoslavia, and elsewhere.


This is not to mention sexual slavery that is pretty rampant in many parts of the world.

This has got me to thinking how far we still have to go to make the world a better place for all women?

Question for Debate: How can we as women (or men) in the U.S. best help women in the rest of the world get to where we are now?

It seems to me this is a good argument for keeping the U.N. strong, as they have worked on issues such as these from a position of authority.
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CruisingRam
Wow- I thought I was the only guy that knew about this holiday LOL- it is a big deal in Europe and Eastern Europe.

Poverty and ignorance always go hand in hand, and look at those places you mentioned- all of them have WAY more poverty than "western" countries. I find it bizarre to know how much of things like genital mutilation is done by the women.


The only way to end the barbarism that you described is to elevate these countries out of poverty. Quite a task.
jenreiautter
One theory I've heard also suggests that education could be a big help. The idea was that the more education a woman had, the less children she was likely to have which would help with the poverty rates.

I would also think that an education would help women see that they have a lot of potential and could also raise self-esteem which could possibly combat some of the atrocities committed against women by both genders around the world.

I wouldn't have a clue how to help women get this education, however. Too much money, and how would we oversee such an undertaking?
CruisingRam
You have to go to the very foundation of the culture when you talk of education for women- for instance- in Eastern European countries, education is paramount- and they are a very educated group, but every bit as poor as some of the third world countries. They have alot of problems related to poverty, but not most of the things you mentioned !
jenreiautter
Your point CR does seem to suggest that education can help.

I've been thinking on this issue for the past day or so and it seems like it's such a huge problem to overcome that trying to tackle it seems nearly impossible. I think I might have gotten in over my head when I opened this topic.

I will keep checking back to see if anyone else has any good suggestions.
Victoria Silverwolf
This is a good place to start:

Fourth World Conference on Women Platform for Action

Some general points can be made. It has already been noted that economic power and education are vital. Political power is just as critical. Social equality and reproductive freedom are important.

What can be done? Communication, both within repressive societies, and with other societies, is a powerful tool for letting women know that they are not alone, and that there are other possibilities. The United Nations, and individual nations, can provide support for business enterprises that allow women to achieve economic strength. Here's an example from Sri Lanka:

The Women's Bank in Sri Lanka

Nations that condone the repression of women should be condemned by the United Nations, the governments of other nations, and by organizations such as Amnesty International. Economic sanctions against such nations may be appropriate.
jenreiautter
This is great stuff, Victoria.

QUOTE
Some general points can be made. It has already been noted that economic power and education are vital. Political power is just as critical. Social equality and reproductive freedom are important.


I was listening to a radio program last night and it was mentioned how women are either being left out or severely underrepresented in the goverments that Bush and Co. are "nation building". The Bush administration has also cut funding on contraceptive to 3rd world nations, which is another component that you've mentioned. Also Bush and & Co. are trying to weaken the U.N. which is needed to help address these issues for women world wide.

So I think a good, concrete, first step that we can take to improve the lives of women around the world as U.S citizens would be to vote Bush out of office.

Then it we'd have to work on President Kerry to undo the damage that Bush has caused.

I like the ideas of getting the U.N. to pursue this more actively, and economic sanctions also seems like a good idea.

After that
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