Women’s Rights are Human Rights
On September 5, 1995, Hillary Clinton- the First Lady of the United States- took front stage at the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China to speak on the fleeting struggles women face in every single country. Standing in front of women’s rights activist from over 180 countries, Hillary Clinton’s words were as powerful as her prominent political stand she held. Clinton catalogued the devastating truth on the abuse afflicted onto women, and then challenging the limited discussion of women’s issues in China. The New York Times described the importance of her words as “speaking more forcefully on human rights than any American dignitary has on Chinese soil.” (Times). Clinton’s grand goal was quite simple: Helping women around the world have a voice. “The great challenge of this conference is to give voice to women everywhere whose experiences go unnoticed, whose words go unheard. Women comprise more than half the world’s population, 70% of the world’s poor, and two-thirds of those who are not taught to read and write. We are the primary caretakers for most of the world’s children and elderly. Yet much of the work we do is not valued -- not by economists, not by historians, not by popular culture, not by government leaders.”
Clinton’s speech was a mix persuasive identification and advocacy that used symbols, goals, and passionate stories to a group of supporters. As the First Lady continued her speech and read her list of the cruel abuse committed against women and girls, the audience had a dramatic silence. Her graphic and violent descriptions of the sheer abuse needed no embellishment. “It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls […] It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war...
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