News / USA

    Clinton: US to Push for Women’s Rights in New Mideast Democracies

    U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) honor Kyrgyzstan President Roza Otunbayeva during the International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony at the State Department, March 8, 2011
    U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) honor Kyrgyzstan President Roza Otunbayeva during the International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony at the State Department, March 8, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that the United States will "stand firm" for women’s empowerment as new democracies take shape in the Middle East.   Clinton spoke at a State Department event honoring women from 10 countries for advocacy on women’s issues, including Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva.

    Clinton used the event, part of the U.S. observance of International Women’s Day, to serve notice that the Obama administration will make women’s empowerment a policy priority in its dealings with emerging democracies in the Middle East.

    "The women in Egypt and Tunisia and other nations have just as much right as the men to remake their governments, to make them responsive, accountable, transparent," she said.  "The United States will stand firmly for the proposition that women must be included in whatever process goes forward."

    Clinton said no government can succeed if it excludes half of its people - its women - from important decisions.

    The secretary of state, joined by first lady Michelle Obama, presided at the fifth annual Women of Courage awards ceremony, honoring activists around the world for advocating for women’s rights and empowerment.

    This year, the 10 recipients include the first female head of state so honored, Kyrgyz Republic President Roza Otunbayeva, who Clinton said steered her country to democracy last year after the collapse of an autocratic regime.

    "She decided early on she would help to set up a new government, have a new constitution," she said.  "And when the time came, after the elections were finished, she would turn over powers to the new prime minister and that government.  In so doing, she has offered an invaluable lesson to fledging democracies everywhere."

    In an acceptance speech on behalf of all of the honorees, President Otunbayeva said the new Kyrgyz democracy - the first in the region - might appear chaotic, but that the apparent disarray is far more preferable to the order enforced by a dictator.

    "Yes, when you are a dictatorship, it is very easy to create the artificial picture of stability and harmony," she said. "When you have a democracy, you must learn to accept many voices, some of them very critical, some even insulting. To  the outsiders,  it looks like you are about to collapse every minute."

    Other awardees at the event included Afghan regional prosecutor Maria Bashir, journalist Henriette Ekwe Ebongo of Cameroon, Chinese lawyer Jianmei Guo, Hungarian parliamentarian Agnes Osztokyan, Jordanian legal advocate Eva Abu Halaweh, Pakistani rural women’s activist Ghulam Sughra and Mexican Deputy Attorney General Marisela Morales.

    Belarusian youth organizer Nasta Palazhanka and Cuban Internet activist Yoani Sanchez were barred by their countries from attending.

    But first lady Michelle Obama said the Cuban government has been powerless to prevent the dissemination of Sanchez’s online essays, and that this kind of courage is the common thread that connects all of the honorees.

    "Each time these women speak up, they inspire others to use their own voices," she said.  "Their fearlessness inspires other to overcome their own fears.  And so soon, citizen networks emerge, eager for change.  Soon it’s possible to rewrite laws, to topple regimes, to transform peoples’ lives."

    Obama said some of the woman activists might not see the fruits of their labors during their lifetimes, but that they carry on with the knowledge that they are paving the way for a better life for their daughters and their sons.

    2011 International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony:

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora