Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday reading suggestions

Here's a couple ideas to spend some time with today:

Start with President Obama's speech in Cairo. The full transcript is available here, but let's focus for a second on what he said about women's rights:
"I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now let me be clear: issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity – men and women – to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams."
The theme of education and literacy continue in this news story about India, who now has its first woman president, Pratibha Patil, and is trying to pass a law that would require one-third of elected seats in parliament be reserved for women. Another goal: improving the rate of literacy among women in India. Current rate is 54 percent. Can you imagine if only 54 percent of American women were literate?

Next up: A look at Hillary Clinton's role as Secretary of State. This piece, written by a woman who apparently didn't care for Clinton during the presidential election, praises Clinton in her current role as the "feminist hero of this administration." That might come as no surprise to some people (me), as Clinton has long been a women's rights supporter. But it's good nonetheless that she gets recognition for what she's done and is trying to do in her job.

Finally, a horrifying article titled "How Did 100,000,000 Women Disappear?" This piece examines population figures in Asia and Africa and concludes that women, who statistically live longer than men, are dying earlier and faster than men in these parts of the country. To the tune of 100 million women. Gone. They are dying of disease (lack of health care for women), suicide, "injuries," murder, child birth, etc. It's a must-read.

Any other suggested Sunday readings? Let me know.

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