Ruth Leger Sivard's

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Women...a World Survey by Ruth Sivard, 2nd edition (1995)
 

Foreword by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Women represent half the world’s population. And yet in country after country, they lack access to education, jobs, health services, and political and civil rights. Where women lack access to education, health care, and economic oportunity, children tend to be less educated, less well nourished, and families tend to be both larger and poorer. Where women are illiterate, the environment is often poorly managed and democracy remains fragile.

An important lesson of the past several decades is that where women prosper, countries prosper. We know that investing in women- in their health and education is vital to improving global prosperity. And we know that investing in women, so that they can assume their rightful places in decision-making bodies, is essential to continued democracy and prosperity.

But what is it that we must do to bring women fully into our national lives? Among other things, women must be able to attend school and learn, not just to be literate, but to acquire the knowledge and skills- of medicine, of engineering, of management, of computers and so forth- that will contribute to the prosperity of their families and nations. Women must have access to health-care, especially as expecting or new mothers. Wives, together with their husbands, must have access to family planning services to enable them to make voluntary, responsible and informed choices about the size of their families. Furthermore, children- girls as well as boys- must have access to preventive and curative care that will enable them to grow into healthy adults.

Often the discussion of such problems as education and health-care for girls and women is viewed as “soft”, labelled dismissively as a women’s issue belonging, at best, on the edge of serious debate about all the problems we confront on the cusp of the 21st century. I want to argue strongly, however, that the questions surrounding social development, especially of women, are at the center of our political and economic challenges.

Too often a deafening silence still sounds when women’s concerns are raised. Ruth Leger Sivard’s report, Women...a World Survey, should inspire all of us to redouble our efforts to further women’s progress around the world.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
First Lady of the United States
Senator for New York
United States Secretary of State

 

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