Human Rights are Women’s Rights: Get in the Arena!
Twenty-five years ago, I stood in the plenary hall of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing to hear then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton proclaim “Human Rights are Women’s Rights and Women’s Rights are Human Rights.”
As she described the injustices and acts of violence against women and girls around the world, the thousands of mostly female government delegates, from country after country, sprang to their feet, applauding as they heard one of the most powerful women in the world validate their struggles, whether it was against dowry burnings or rape as a tactic of war. These abuses and many others were being recognized for what they were, not cultural norms to be suffered in silence.
This was the kind of experience I could only dream about when I took the Foreign Service Exam. The emotion, energy, and determination in that electric moment inspired me and informed my career for years to come.
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