The startling facts about women in the world
You may like her politics or not, but Hillary Clinton has accomplished much in her 67 years. I heard an anecdote on the radio this morning giving the reason that she attended Yale Law School rather than Harvard. She had been admitted to both.
According to The New York Times Hillary was attending a cocktail party at Harvard Law School after her admission. “One of my friends said, ‘Professor So-and-So, this is Hillary Rodham. She’s trying to decide between us and our nearest competitor’,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And he looked down at me and he said, ‘Well, first, we don’t have a nearest competitor. And secondly, we don’t need any more women’,”
True or not, Clinton went on to attend Yale, became the first First Lady in history to have a post-graduate degree, the first former First Lady to hold elected office, and if she decides to run will likely be the Democratic candidate for President of the United States in 2016.
Interestingly enough, the quote by Hillary was during the same program interviewing former President Jimmy Carter, himself an overachiever for his entire life. Carter, who also won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work around the world at the Carter Center, was talking about the plight of women in many of the 145 countries he has visited.
In his new book, A Call to Action, Carter states that the greatest moral threat to this world right now is the social injustice and abuse of women. “It is the most gross abuse of human rights on earth right now,” he said in the interview.
800,000 humans are sold across international borders each year, according to an annual State Department report. 80% of those are women. Before you feel too safe in this country, the report goes on to say that 100,000 people are sold in human trafficking transactions in the United States each year.
Is it possible that the same country where a woman can succeed at such a high level as Hillary Clinton can also have thousands of slaves sold within its borders? Apparently, the answer is yes.
In fact, according to Carter’s book, our own state capital of Atlanta, is the worst city in America when it comes to having little girls sold into slavery. Approximately 200 young girls are sold each month.
My wife and I raised my two daughters to believe that they could be anything they wanted to be as long as they worked for their dreams. In stark contrast to my time in school, females are now the majority in most of our colleges and universities regardless of their field of study.
However, of the Fortune 500 companies, only 25 have a woman serving as their CEO. The average pay for a woman is 23% less than a man doing the same job. Women have partially bridged the gap in the United States, but there is still a ways to go.
In my seven years of writing for newspapers, I don’t think I have ever used Hillary Clinton and Jimmy Carter as the subject of a column. He may not have been our greatest President and she may never be president at all.
However, you have to give them both credit where it is due. Hillary Clinton succeeded in a world even less friendly to a woman than it is today. Jimmy Carter peeled back the curtain to show terrible injustices that no one wants to talk about.
I don’t know if I’ll read Carter’s book, but I know I’ll hold each of my daughters and granddaughter just a bit tighter the next time I see them. In looking at one of life’s biggest nightmares, you can’t help but realize that there but for the grace of God, go I.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org