Feature: Middle East News

Clinton Calls for Female Voices in Middle East Government

Author: Alana Garrigues
Published: September 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm
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The grossly disproportionate number of women who serve in government leadership positions is hardly news. The statistics are staggering.

According to OnlineWomen statistics published in 2009, just 14 out of more than 250 heads of state were women. In the Middle East, particularly amid some of the world's most repressive governments that ban or restrict women from a whole myriad of normal daily activities from walking down the street with exposed faces, arms and legs to electing to divorce, it is very difficult to picture a woman at the helm. Even in the western world with its touted gender equality, it is rare to find a country with a woman in the legislature, and downright unusual to find a woman leading a country as head of state or head of government.

There are exceptions. According to OnlineWomen Sweden and Rwanda are both close to parity, and in most of Scandinavia along with a handful of South American and African countries women hold more than 30% of legislative positions. The United States was embarrassingly low with a feeble 12% of congressional positions in the hands of women. The glass ceiling is thick.

Hillary Clinton wants that to change, and she hopes to effect that change by encouraging new governments rising out of the Arab Spring to put women in power.

Speaking with the United Nations in New York City on September 19, Clinton called for women to hold political, economic and social power across the world, starting with equal education.

"Parents need to recognize the values of their girls, invest in their futures, their education. When we liberate the economic potential of women, we elevate the economic performance of communities, nations, and the world." she said.

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Article Author: Alana Garrigues

Alana Garrigues is a freelance journalist living in the greater Los Angeles area. A travel enthusiast, food lover, Jeopardy addict, bookworm and community volunteer, she is also the mother of identical twins and author of the educational blog writercize …

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