The Global Citizen: women empowerment
Hopes, concerns, and anger have all surrounded the recent results of the Egyptian election earlier this week. The two front-runners of the preliminary elections were revealed earlier this week: Mohamed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq. Each received 25% and 24% of the vote, respectfully.
Certain groups are worried about the two choices for various reasons. In Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the revolution, protesters chanted against both candidates. Pro-Democracy youth were angered and worried that Ahmed Shafiq is now one of the front runners, as he served as Prime Minister under former President Mubarak. Earlier this week, more protests broke out, leaving Shafiq's campaign headquarters burnt and destroyed.
Others are concerned over Mursi as a front runner, including women's rights groups, pro-democracy groups, and the Christian minority. As a conservative member of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Mursi pledged to implement shariah Islamic law. There are reports that if elected, Mursi would quit the FJP and would appoint a Christian vice president, "if possible." It was further reported that he would not impose the veil on women.
"We agreed that both, when it comes to economic development and when it comes to peace and security issues, empowering women to have a seat at the table and get more engaged and more involved in these processes can be extraordinarily fruitful. And this is something that we will also be introducing during the G20."
True to his word, President Obama made a historic commitment at the G8 and NATO summits by placing women empowerment as a major part of the summit's agenda this past week. President Obama not only emphasized the importance of protecting women's rights and advancing their participation in the global setting, but recognized that empowering women worldwide is the key to global economic development and international security.
There are staggering human rights violations happening right now. You won't find it in breaking news headlines or discussion boards because this is a routine kind of human rights violation. Every day there are girls who are kidnapped and forced against their will into brothels, married off at age 14 because their family cannot afford school, or killed because they receive less medical treatment because it must be saved for the males in the family. This is gender discrimination and it happens in all forms around the world. Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sherryl WuDunn give a passionate argument as to why this is the most important and glaring global issue that needs immediate and aggressive attention in their book Half the Sky.
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