[First posted on 7/20/09 at No Quarter]
As I read Amy Siskind’s excellent piece Sit Down and Shut Up on the marginalization of American women in politics, I couldn’t help thinking about all that the suffragette endured – ridicule, beatings, and imprisonment in their quest to gain the right to vote for American women. And just a few weeks ago, those courageous Iranian women who went out into the streets facing death and bodily harm to protest their country’s election.
The world-wide oppression of women and women’s rights seem to be reaching epidemic proportions these days. Or would that be a pandemic? And yet, there are clear signs that the resolve of women to push back continues to gather strength. So I wanted take a moment to recognize and celebrate women from around the world– who stand up in the face of great opposition, who give voice to grave wrongs, and who take responsibility for trying to right those wrongs. And I wanted to let them know they are being honored and they are being heard.
So here is a small, international collection of videos honoring women for standing up and speaking out.
The title for my post was inspired by this first video. In it journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro tells a wonderful story of a rural Mexican phrase – Esta boca es mía. This mouth is mine. Ms. Ribeiro is the recipient of a 2007 Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. As you listen to the video you realize that for her, speaking up is not about a personal right. Speaking up is about taking personal responsibility. And it is about recognizing the personal obligation each of us has to ourselves and our society.
Female Freedom of Expression in Mexico (Lydia Cacho Ribeiro)
Some 500 protesters from the women’s wing of the Dahal party marched on President Ram Baran Yadav’s residence Thursday, chanting slogans while police used bamboo batons to beat back activists who tried to break through a cordon. Some of the women were lightly injured.
Women protest in Nepal
Bahraini Women’s Rights Activist Ghada Jamshir Attacks Islamic Clerics for Fatwas Authorizing Sexual Abuse of Children. This is an excerpt from an interview with Bahraini women’s rights activist Ghada Jamshir , which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on December 21, 2005.
Women’s Rights in Islam: Sex with Infant Girls
Thousands of women hold a massive rally in India protesting against an increasing number of abortions. In some areas of India an estimated 2,000 unborn girls are illegally aborted every day, according to the United Nations. This has led to disproportionate sex ratios where a 2001 census showed less than 800 girls for every 1,000 boys.
Indian Women Protest Sex-Selective Abortions
The courage displayed by the women of Iran has become an inspiration to other women throughout the world. Despite the tragic death of Neda Agha Soltan, shot 6/20/09 by security forces during a protest against Iranian Presidential Election 2009.
The Women Of Iran
This mouth is mine. And so is the right, the responsibility and the obligation to stand up for myself and others. We can not reserve our voice for only the chosen few that are deemed to be of the right age, race, sex, class, education or political views. Standing up and giving voice to wrongs and taking part in righting those wrongs- it is something that is required by all of us and for all of us.
And since I also believe “this mouth is mine” to give thanks and acknowledgement – a huge thank you to American Girl in Italy (aka Sara in Italy). She is an amazing writer, as all you No Quarter regulars know, but she is also an awesome researcher who managed to find every one of these great videos (and a half a dozen more) and in record time. So thank you AGII!!
And for a fantastic piece (including video) by NQ writer Bronwyn’s Harbor on Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s outstanding speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.