This morning I read a good article at Huffpost: Why Gender Equality Is the Most Critical of All the Global Goals. It’s written by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women. While I agree with her premise, given those countries in the world that oppress women, I think she is overly optimistic as to how much can be accomplished on this issue via the United Nations. However, I also came to this same conclusion some years ago, at Jonathan Turley, when I wrote the following:
Sometimes an idea hits me leading to an epiphany. Epiphanies for me usually take the shape of the realization that a belief I’ve held for a long time, is actually more important in the scheme of things, than I had previously thought about. This happened with me some few years ago when those opposing gay marriage in California defeated a voter initiative. I had been a believer in the need for equality for Gay men and women since I was a teenager. After all the bullies who were beating me up kept calling me a “fag, or “queer” and while I wasn’t gay, I got insight into what it must be like to be homosexual. In life you have the choice of identifying with the bully, or those who are bullied. I’ve always chosen the latter.
So as a young adult I cried tears of joy when “Stonewall” happened and the police found that Gays would no longer be easy targets. Working for NYC’s Human Rights Administration and then living in Manhattan, gave me the privilege of meeting and befriending Gay people of both sexes. When AIDS hit the scene, I had many friends die and I worked to help the Division of Aids Services as a Budget Director. Yet while I always completely supported LGBT rights, for a while I believed the focus on Gay Marriage, shouldn’t be in the forefront of the movement. The argument over Proposition 8 in California http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposition_8 gave me an epiphany that led me to see that not only was the right to marriage an essential part of ensuring the Constitutional Rights of Gay people, but it was the key element. Being unable to assist in the health care choices of long term partners, in some cases even being barred from the funerals, or participating in ones’ partners Health Plan, are important Constitutional issues and the essence of the battle.
Last night my wife and I saw and were very moved by Stephen Spielberg’s “Lincoln”. There was a scene in it during a congressional debate, where one congressman said in effect “If we grant Blacks freedom, then we’ll have to give them the right to vote……and if we give them the right to vote we will have to give women the right to vote. In truth, it was another six decades before this country bestowed upon its’ women the basic Constitutional Right of voting, as my wife pointed out to me. Later in the evening we watched the Bill Maher Show and during the discussion, reference was made to the frequency of abuse and murder of women throughout the world and suddenly my epiphany. While I’ve always supported women’s rights, it is so easy in a world where so many wrong things occur daily, to not place the abuse and murder of women particularly at the top of an agenda decrying unjust war, drone attacks, racism, economic disparity and torture, to name a few. As it became clear to me last night, the murder, rape, bondage and the degradation of women is part and parcel of all these issues of evil and not merely one aspect of them.
Considering that women comprise at least half of humanity, the mistreatment of women worldwide is actually the most important issue humanity faces. We must solve this before we can even hope to solve any other great issue. Because I’m not really a great thinker, many of my “epiphanies” are ones that are obvious to many. However, when they do occur I am willing to reconsider the hierarchy of my beliefs. Unlike my other writings, I will not tire you with the evidence of what to me is self-evident. Do you agree, or do you have other world problem solving priorities?