1/1/11 Peter Clifford – www.petercliffordonline.com : NEW BEGINNINGS : WOMEN’S RIGHTS – Wasting 50% of human capacity… I thought this was a pretty good date to start a new blog – So Welcome to this new site, a new start and to a New Year!
One of the things that has concerned me over the years is the appalling treatment of women – I suppose from my perspective as a therapist I have heard their stories first hand and it leaves an impact.
Two women who have come to the fore recently, Aung San Suu Kyi the Burmese Democracy leader who was held under house arrest for 15 years until her release on 13th November 2010, and Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani sentenced to death by stoning for “adultery” in Iran despite the fact that her husband was already dead, illustrate my point.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s party legitimately won 81% of the seats in the Burmese Parliament in 1990 and she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, yet she has never been allowed to take her place as the country’s leader.
She has also had to stand by completely helpless as her English husband died of cancer in Cambridge in the U.K. for she knew that if she left the country she would never be allowed to return.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani apart from being committed to a barbaric death by stoning was reportedly sexually abused and mistreated for years by her husband. A male friend who – again reportedly -murdered the husband, has not been imprisoned. Both her son and her lawyer have however been put in prison and another lawyer has fled into exile.
In some countries women are still not allowed to drive a car, go out alone or even to have an education. Frankly, in the 21st Century this is completely unacceptable and to me smacks of blatant and brutal male domination and control. There is no justification for any of this.
Even worse, in some countries female foetuses are routinely aborted in favour of the “supremacy” of the preferred choice of male children.
Woman make up roughly 50% of the human population. They therefore make up 50% of its talent, skills, intelligence, inventiveness and human potential. As a human race we are fools if we suppress it and waste that resource.
Women cannot contribute fully to human development without education, support, encouragement and the freedom to express themselves, and in my view the planet needs all the help it can get right now.
Fulfilled mothers will also produce and raise fulfilled and contented children who are more likely to turn into effective adults.
The Women’s Liberation movement in the 60’s addressed some of the issues in the West and redressed the male/female balance to some degree.
Now it needs good and true men wherever they are in the world, living under whichever religion or political and social system, to support the right of women to be equal and to lead full and active lives in any area or activity that they choose.
And more than this, it needs women to stand up for themselves both individually and collectively for the right to equality and freedom of opportunity.
I realise that many women are brutalised and cowed into submission, but it seems to me that too many women acquiesce to the status quo and allow their fellow women (and their daughters) to be overruled, suppressed and controlled unnecessarily.
Women deciding to change themselves and what they are prepared to put up with can make the biggest difference to entrenched attitudes and bring about the quickest changes.
So that is my first thought for 2011 – the beginning of a new decade. I hope it is a decade of immense change for women’s freedom, rights and equality –and it if is we will all benefit, the whole human race.
Until the next time,
Peter Clifford: www.petercliffordonline.com
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Peter Clifford has worked for almost 40 years as a counsellor, psychotherapist, lecturer and workshop leader empowering people worldwide to be the best that they can be.
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