Blog - Global view

In search of an international woman leader's voice

The ongoing punishments meted out to women across the world is a scandal with India's rape crisis being one example. Kevin Evans calls for strong female leadership on the matter.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is examining the server she used for her work and personal email as secretary of state, has recovered some of the deleted emails Albert H Teich

After deplaning in Mumbai, and while passing time during my several hour layover en route to Hyderabad (my fourth trip to India in the last nine months in connection with two investigations), I stood against a pole (tired of sitting and lying) to read the local paper.  
Rape is endemic
What I found, again, was shocking and disturbing, although I should have expected it based on my previous time in country.  You see, in the first few pages there was a story of the rape of a five year old girl, the gang rape of a policewoman on her way to her brother-in-law’s funeral, the rape of a journalist who had the audacity to be working past 6:00 pm on a story, the gang rape of another woman, and yet another rape story.  
And then there was the statistic of nearly 25,000 reported rapes per year in the country.  Who wrote these articles?  You probably guessed it – female reporters.  I have asked myself repeatedly since my time in India several questions:  How could society in the land of the Taj Mahal tolerate this attack on half of its population?  Where are the voices of male authority figures, not simply but including politicos, speaking out (loudly and repeatedly) about these atrocities?  Where is the judicial system?  Where are the prosecutors and law enforcement figures with the strength and moral courage to tackle this disgusting epidemic (I am hopeful it is not endemic)? 
Not just India
This article is not intended to be an indictment against India at large; it just happens to be where I am at the moment.  I also recently spent time in Afghanistan, and the attitude by those there who subscribe to a Neanderthal-like mindset is no different.  Honour killing of a girl for disobeying her father’s direction is accepted.  “Acid baths” are an accepted way of handling strong-willed and independent-minded young women.  Gassing of schools is an acceptable way of influencing girls not to seek education etc etc etc.
We in the United States are not immune to such deplorable conduct.  A story broke last year of a man in Cleveland, Ohio who kept four woman locked in his home for a dozen years while he repeatedly molested them.  (How the hell is this possible in a community?)  And there have been other similar stories like this over the last several years.  
The need for an influential woman’s voice
If the gender of those perpetrating these crimes is not willing to tackle the issue in a demonstrative way, then I dare say that we (I mean the global community) are in need of an influential female voice to address these matters on an international scale.  
I suspect most women in the United States have no clue of how badly their gender is treated in other parts of the world (putting aside the sad state of our education system in the United States, I suspect the same holds true for women in other parts of the world).  
Come on Hilary
Hillary Clinton, who already unofficially has begun her campaign for the White House, has been focusing on women’s issues in the States, such as equal pay for equal work. That is all fine and good, and I do not mean to minimize that strategy and agenda, but given her reputation and name recognition, she could be doing so much more for the plight of woman at large.  And she is not alone.  Condoleezza Rice on the other side of the political spectrum could take up the mantle just as easily, as could a host of similarly situated woman elsewhere.  Where are those voices?  We have not heard them, but we sorely need them.

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09 September 2013

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