Wonk’s Saturday Reads: Females are Fabulous (all the moreso during Fourth of July weekend)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite attend the international conference "Women Enhancing Democracy: Best Practices" in Vilnius on June 30, 2011 AFP PHOTO PETRAS MALUKAS (Click photo to read a transcript of Dalia's and Hillary's post-bilateral remarks.)

Morning, news junkies.

Do you remember the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy goes on “Females are Fabulous” (game show which the announcer says is “based on the theory that any woman is willing to make an idiot out of herself in order to win a prize”)? Well, I was watching that episode while I was on the treadmill yesterday, a little after I saw the picture to the right, of Hillary and Dalia, which I instantly knew would be my Saturday intro pick. I figured this roundup is as good a time as any to turn that concept on its head… So here’s to the modern fabulous woman, based on the theory that women can compete in a man’s world instead of having to do stupid pet tricks to be recognized! For this weekend’s roundup, I’m going to stick mostly to items about women who are doing just that. Which means–you guessed it–a whole lotta Hillary.

Hillary in Lithuania…

…on Thursday, heralding the fight for women’s rights as “the great struggle of the 21st century” at the Women Enhancing Democracy Event (great applause/laugh line in bold):

Sometimes dignity means nothing more profound than to walk safely to fetch water or visit a friend without fear that you’ll be beaten, harassed, or kidnapped. But for too many women in too many places, even these most basic rights remain a distant dream. Whether you are a woman in downtown Cairo or a mother in a small Indian village or a girl growing up right here in Vilnius or in New York City, we have to send a clear, unmistakable message that young women, just like young men, have the right to their dreams and their dignity in the 21st century.

When you look back at the last 300 years of history, you can see a pattern. You can see that the 19th century, the great human rights struggle was against organized slavery; the 20th century, the great struggle was against totalitarianism; the great struggle of the 21st century is to ensure that women are fully given the rights they have as human beings – in their families, in their societies, and in the world.

So let us work together, day by day, to make sure that when we meet again 10 years from now, we will be able to look back on progress, not only continuing progress in my country, which someday, perhaps, will match Finland and Lithuania with having a woman president – (laughter) – but in every country everywhere – (applause). And particularly, let those of us who enjoy the benefits of freedom, for whom legal restrictions and barriers have been broken down, and what remains are more internal, more psychological – let us be sure that we keep opening doors for those elsewhere. We cannot take any solace in our own freedoms when women elsewhere are denied those same rights.

…and on Friday, still in Lithuania, issuing remarks on Women’s Rights in the MENA region. (“As one woman put it, the men were keen for me to be here when we demanding that Mubarak should go, but now that he has gone, they want me to go home.”) The New Age, a South African paper, headline on Hillary’s remarks: “Clinton warns against sidelining women in Arab Spring.” Hillary gave a news conference with remarks specifically on Syria as well.

And, here’s a neat interview she did with a female journalist in Lithuania:

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, former First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt only allowed female reporters to her press conferences, forcing – so editors to hire women. Do such methods – should be taken in our days for similar reasons, for – strengthen positions of women?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s a very interesting question. Eleanor Roosevelt is someone whom I admire greatly, and because she would only be interviewed by women reporters, she forced newspapers to hire more women. I think that that is probably not necessary in today’s world because you’re sitting there and I am frequently interviewed by very able women reporters. But I do think that focusing on women’s rights and equality for women remains a very big issue for the world today.

Kat also sent me this great extensive writeup from Bloomberg on Hillary’s remarks about women at the African Union during her travels last month: Clinton Tells African Leaders Economies Would Fail Without Women’s Toil, which I want to excerpt a bit from:

For Clinton, the plight of women has helped drive an aggressive travel schedule that her office says has clocked up more miles than any of her predecessors. She’s gone 567,305 miles, visiting 85 countries in 232 days on the road since taking office in January 2009. She makes it a point to meet local women in impoverished nations.

In Zambia, which hadn’t hosted a secretary of state since Henry Kissinger in 1976, Clinton was met by a singing and dancing chorus of local businesswomen who had taken part in a U.S.-funded program to train female entrepreneurs on how to tap financing and export their goods.

“Have you been to a market? Have you looked at fields being tilled? Have you watched children being raised?” Clinton told her hosts at a meeting in Lusaka, Zambia to discuss a U.S. trade agreement with 37 African countries. “Women are holding up half the economy already.”

‘Anything is Possible’

Among those listening was Linda Moono, part of a group that set up the only Mexican restaurant in Lusaka and helps young entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

“I was inspired, particularly by her focus on young women,” she said in a June 9 interview. “She makes one believe anything is possible.”

Earlier this week, Madame Secretary gave an exclusive to Jim Clancy of CNN International’s Freedom Project on the release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report: Sec. Clinton on slavery: “Unforgettable and unforgivable” (full transcript at the link):

Watch Sec. Clinton describe her passion for fighting 21st century slavery, which she calls ‘unforgettable and unforgivable’, here.

Watch the full interview here.

Fiercest advocate-in-chief that she is, Hillary also co-hosted an LGBT Pride month event at the State Department with GLIFAA (Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies). From On Top Magazine’s coverage of Hillary’s remarks at the event–“Hillary Clinton Cheers New York Gay Marriage”:

At the event co-hosted by the Department of State and the affinity group Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA), Clinton called the law a historic victory for human rights.

“If you followed closely, which I’m sure all of you did, the debate in New York, one of the key votes that was switched at the end was a Republican senator from the Buffalo area who became convinced that it was just not any longer fair for him to see one group of his constituents as different from another. Senators stood up and talked about nieces and nephews and grandchildren and others who are very dear to them, and they don’t want them being objectified or discriminated against. And from their own personal connections and relationships, they began to make the larger connection with somebody else’s niece or nephew of grandchild and what that family must feel like,” Clinton said.

“So I ask all of you to look for ways to support those who are on the front lines of this movement, who are defending themselves and the people they care about with great courage and resilience. This is one of the most urgent and important human rights struggles of all times,” she added.

BBC News and other outlets also reported on Hillary’s comments about the US envoy in Rome helping Lady Gaga secure Europride show:

“Organisers of the EuroPride event desperately wanted her to perform, and a letter to her from Ambassador Thorne was instrumental in sealing the deal,” Mrs Clinton told a group of gay and lesbian state department employees on Monday.

Fox News, oddly enough, ran this headline… SMART POWER: Hillary Brokers Lady Gaga Gay Pride Gig for Rome.

Shifting the human rights gears back to Hillary’s signature issue… Hillary sent a video message to the “Women Leaders as Agents of Change” Colloquium. Teaser:

Hello and welcome to this colloquium dedicated to empowering women as agents of change. I want to thank the Prime Minister for hosting this important forum. As Trinidad and Tobago’s first female prime minister, she is a role model for women not only in her own country, but throughout the region.

In the United States this month we are celebrating the unique contributions by Americans of Caribbean descent. Caribbean-American women have added in ways large and small to the story of America. We have seen them act as agents of change in our own country.

On Friday, Hillary had this to say about the first meeting of the Lifeline Donor Steering Committee (NGO initiative):

And I think our seven NGO partners are creating a virtual SOS warning platform to improve our abilities to identify where and when people are in danger. So we can get a response as quickly as needed.

In other Hillaryland-related news… from Ann Lewis’ NoLimits.org… Congress: Fair Pay Deserves a Vote:

The devastating ruling in the Wal-Mart v. Dukes case highlights the importance of The Paycheck Fairness Act, which calls for an end to pay secrecy and sex-based pay discrimination. The bill, reintroduced this year by Senator Barbara Mikulski and Representative Rosa DeLauro, would strengthen the equal pay laws, and help take equal pay from the law books to our checkbooks.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit punishment of employees who voluntarily share wage information; require gender-based data collection, allow employees to compare their wages to the wages of others who hold their job, even outside the workplace, and strengthen compensation and punitive damages for victims of sex-based wage discrimination.

Think of the impact that The Paycheck Fairness Act would have had on Lilly Ledbetter and the women of Wal-Mart. Let’s pass The Paycheck Fairness Act for millions of working women in the U.S.

Click here to contact your representative about The Paycheck Fairness Act.

And, here’s another shero milestone to be proud of this Fourth of July weekend… Last month, the US Army made Pratima Dharm the first Hindu chaplain in US history. I caught a profile of her in an Indian American periodical this week, but I can’t find the article online. The Huffpo piece (from earlier last month) that I’ve linked to is pretty good, though:

“Our motto is priest to some, chaplain to all,” states Chaplain Dharm. She acknowledges her cultural background makes her uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of being the first Hindu Chaplain. She was born and raised in India, and can read and write Sanskrit, the language ancient Hindu scriptures were written in. “The basic principles of Hinduism make being a ‘chaplain to all’ an ideal endeavor. Hinduism by its very nature teaches tolerance, acceptance and respect for all religions, a key characteristic of successful military chaplains.”

I have some other items I want to link to briefly:

Amelia Earhart 74 years ago. (Click to go to the article.)

I have a few different historical trivia reads to cover, but there’s a bit more Hillary stuff all the way at the end, so stay tuned.

This Day in Women’s History:

Donning a helmet and goggles, one 10 minute flight in an open-cockpit biplane was all it took. She was hooked for life. Amelia Earhart is possibly the world’s most famous female aviator. On July 2, it will be 64 (editor note sic 74) years since she was last heard from over the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the last legs of her attempted flight around the world when her radio went silent.

Oh and of course, Today in American History…some milestones to remember this weekend:

Independence Day is celebrated two days too late. The Second Continental Congress voted for a Declaration of Independence on July 2, prompting John Adams to write his wife, “I am apt to believe that [July 2, 1776], will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”

Adams correctly foresaw shows, games, sports, buns, bells, and bonfires—but he got the date wrong. The written document wasn’t edited and approved until the Fourth of July, and that was the date printers affixed to “broadside” announcements sent out across the land. July 2 was soon forgotten.

(Related: “U.S. Independence Celebrated on the Wrong Day?”)

In fact, no one actually signed the Declaration of Independence at any time during July 1776. Signing began on August 2, with John Hancock’s famously bold scribble, and wasn’t completed until late November.

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act, which prohibited any form of discrimination in public places, as well as authorized the integration of public facilities. To this very day the Civil Rights Act remains one of the most important pieces of legislation, not just for people of color but for all Americans of different gender, religion, and socio-economic status.

One month later, on July 2, 1777, a convention of 72 delegates met in Windsor, Vermont, to adopt the state’s new—and revolutionary—constitution; it was formally adopted on July 8, 1777. Vermont’s constitution was not only the first written national constitution drafted in North America, but also the first to prohibit slavery and to give all adult males, not just property owners, the right to vote.

I’ll close with a snippet from Hillary’s Video Message for Independence Day:

February 26, 2008 (John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer)

Today is a time to celebrate the birth of our nation and the values that have sustained us for 235 years – equality, opportunity and the rights enshrined in our founding documents.

This year, we have been reminded again that these are not just American values, they are truly universal values. And as people across North Africa, the Middle East and around the world risk their lives to claim these universal human rights and freedoms, Americans are proud to stand with them. We are united by our common hopes and aspirations for a better world.

Chelsea, Hillary, and Dorothy Rodham... Pennsylvania 2008

I love the above pic of Hillary ’08 against the blue part of the flag and the stars…I also love this pic to the right with the red and white stripes backdrop for three generations of American women.

Happy Fourth of July weekend everyone! If you get a chance, let us know what’s on your blogging list.

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]

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One Response

  1. Thanks Wonk!!!

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