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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid