Sunday, March 27, 2011

Senator Gillibrand Urges Congress to Protect Rights of Women in Middle East, North Africa by Heather McDaniel -Capitol Confidential

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In the wake of populist uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, a bipartisan group of female senators, including Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has banded together to ensure that women’s rights are not forgotten amid the tumult.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. (AP Photo/Drew Angerer)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. (AP Photo/Drew Angerer)
Gillibrand, along with 15 other senators, will introduce a resolution recognizing the importance of women’s rights and their political participation as new governments begin to take shape in the region.
“We have witnessed courageous women leaders throughout the Middle East and North Africa risking their lives to advance the cause of freedom, democracy and basic human rights,” Gillibrand said. “As Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton has rightly said, ‘The rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21stCentury.’As we honor these inspiring women, I also urge all world leaders to continue the push for women’s progress.”
While women have stood beside men and participated in several uprisings in the region, the senators say they are currently being excluded from the political process in many places. In Egypt, no women have been included in the council in charge of reforming the constitution and Tunisia only two have been appointed to the transitional government.
“In societies where women are equal, where they have the right to vote and to hold office, and where they are empowered to be leaders in their communities, those nations are so much more likely to thrive,” Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said in a press release. “Those are the societies that bring up the next generation with the right values, the solid education, and the economic vitality to succeed.”
The resolution, led by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, is a joint effort between all 16 female Senators and is slated to be introduced sometime next week.
“This resolution recognizes that women are important change agents in their societies and reaffirms that countries are more stable and secure when women are empowered and involved,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, said.