News / Africa

Former US President Says Women 'Pivotal' in Uprisings

Authorities, front row, from left,  Adela Dworin, President of the Cuban Jewish Community, former President Jimmy Carter, David Prinstein, Vice-President of the Cuban Jewish Community and Carter's wife Rosalynn Carter, pose for pictures during a visit to
Authorities, front row, from left, Adela Dworin, President of the Cuban Jewish Community, former President Jimmy Carter, David Prinstein, Vice-President of the Cuban Jewish Community and Carter's wife Rosalynn Carter, pose for pictures during a visit to

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

Peter Clottey

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says women have played a pivotal role in the uprisings in the Middle East, including Tunisia and Egypt, as well as the ongoing revolution in Libya that demanded change for democracy and equal rights.

In an interview with VOA, Carter says one of the greatest human rights violations is done against women and girls around the world. He attributes this to the greediness of selfish men, including employers, who, he says, pay equally qualified female employees less than their male colleagues.

“In places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, it’s just a customary right of privilege of soldiers to rape women with impunity. In some countries, it’s not even a crime to rape a woman. In many other nations, women can’t have property ownership, they can’t inherit their own children if their husband dies, like in Saudi Arabia, they can’t even drive an automobile,” said Carter.

“In Christian communities, as well, there is gross discrimination against women. Our people at the Carter Center believe that women should be treated equally in the eyes of God and that includes Islam and also Christianity and other religions. But, as you know, [in] the Catholic Church, they practically worship the Virgin Mary, but won’t let a woman be a priest,” he added.

Carter and Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivered the keynote addresses at a forum organized by the Carter Center on women’s rights in Atlanta, Georgia.

In his keynote address, Carter said it is ironic that women are now welcomed into all major professions and other positions of authority, but are branded as inferior and deprived of the equal right to serve God in positions of religious leadership.

The forum, which is scheduled to end Wednesday, explored the challenges that women's rights activists face around the world, including the recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

It also focused on how religious and traditional institutions can better lead their local communities away from discrimination and violence against women.

Carter says African leaders should read and implement The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“In some places, of course, the leaders of the opposition, the rebels, or freedom fighters, were women in the forefront of the demonstrations. And, of course, one of the reasons for that is that women have been deprived of more of their rights in the past than men have been deprived. But, as the revolution was successful, say in Egypt, they planned a million woman march and some of the men who have been alongside the women in the demonstrations condemned the women for seeking additional rights,” Carter said.

“The discrimination against women on a global basis is almost attributable to the declaration by religious leaders in Christianity, Islam and other religions that women are inferior in the eyes of God, and this gives men a right to abuse women, whether it’s the husband beating up his wife or depriving a woman of her basic rights,” he added.

Meanwhile, in his keynote address Carter said his own Southern Baptist Convention leaders ordained, in recent years, that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors, chaplains in the military service, or teachers of men.

He said they based this on a few carefully selected quotations from St. Paul and also the book of Genesis claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin. Carter said this was in conflict with his belief that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

The former president said this view that God considers women to be inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or tradition. Its influence does not stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue, or temple. Women, he stated, are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths creating an environment in which violations against women are justified.

According to Carter, the truth is that male religious leaders have had, and still have, an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid