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Просмотр полной версии : Американка об азербайджанских женщинах


Fireland
20.08.2010, 16:56
Models for Women's Equality in a Seemingly Unlikely Realm (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/xandra-kayden/models-for-womens-equalit_b_688025.html)


Terrorism won't go away easily. For all the strategies to deal with it, one significant long-term approach is to improve the status of women in developing nations - nations that are, or might be - at risk for sustaining terrorist organizations within their borders. Both U.S. and UN. policies recognize the importance of changing traditional attitudes toward women, but getting there is hard. It is hard for most Western nations as well. Much as we have tried - and as far as we have come - there is still a sense of trying to push a boulder up a hill when it comes to genuine equality between the genders. The same may be said about race, and all the other prejudices we erect to define ourselves. Laws promoting equality are a necessary element, and many nations have them. Newer democracies adopted them more easily (unlike the U.S., which has failed to ratify the equal rights amendment), but they have existed for years in both the West and the East: among both communist nations and capitalist democracies. What needs changing is probably found more deeply in the heart and, while outside influences clearly matter, it isn't quite clear what strategies, what incentives, and what arguments make the greatest difference and could hurry along this generationally-slow drive for equality.
Almost forty years ago I created the first women's program in the federal government since the Women's Bureau started in the 1920s. It was designed to link the status of women who worked in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare with the impact of women in society. Most said they thought it was a good idea (especially if you were talking about their daughters), but they hadn't a clue about how to go about it. "If the Secretary wants to improve the status of women," the every male manager except Secretary Elliot Richardson told me, "why doesn't the Secretary just write a memo?" Everyone -- including the Secretary -- then said, "But what can I do? Nobody listens to me." Still things changed, procedures were put in place, and most importantly, the women inside and outside the Department kept pressing their case. On the other hand, most of the issues then, are still issues today.
I had the opportunity recently to visit Azerbaijan, a small nation on the Caspian Sea that is rich in oil and gas, but more relevant to the issue, also has most of the important elements necessary to the building of a successful and stable democracy: it has laws requiring equality for women, in fact, Azerbaijan (prior to being taken over by the Bolsheviks) established the first parliamentary democracy in the Muslim world and granted women the right to vote before the U.S.; it has almost 100 percent literacy; a reasonable per capita income; a belief in a secular government; many organizations aimed at improving civil society, and ties to the international organizations in the region. It is a majority-Shia Muslim country, but maintains good relations with Israel, the U.S. and the West and worries about its relationship with its neighbor Iran. It has close ties to Georgia, tense ties with Russia, and has been at war with Armenia for over a decade, with a million or so refugees to show for it. Its foreign policy seeks to weave a path to the Western global world through its pipelines and trade, and along with commercial and political connections, social adjustments are also being made. The Azeri government has made a concerted effort to improve the status of its women. There are a substantial number of women's organizations, women in parliament and government and the country participates in international conferences and studies on women with noticeable support by its First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.
Still, domestic violence and trafficking of women and children are problems for Azerbaijan, as well as for the U.S. and many others. In Baku, the largest city in the region, there are many well educated and professional women. They dress and behave as women in every other modern city on the globe. In the countryside, women are more likely to play traditional roles, but are inevitably found in the ranks of leaders.
They have had both some successes and some failures. It strikes me that the transition this country is striving toward would be a more realistic model of what it takes to change attitudes toward women. Expecting a developing society to leap into anything akin to American culture is asking a lot, reminding me of something I once heard an American diplomat held hostage in Iran during the 1979 revolution. In talking to the students who held him captive, their anger was not so much directed toward America as it was toward the Shaw for trying to turn them into second class Americans rather than first class Iranians. Isn't that issue of status and standing in the world still a major issue in much of the Middle East?
It seems to me that Azerbaijan would be a better model for women than we are. Not that it has entirely solved its problems - anymore than the rest of us have - but it is working toward greater equality and unusually willing to connect with others along the way. Presumably, that would also mean analyzing what works for them and what doesn't. Those are lessons that would have greater applicability in the areas of the world that need the kind of stability and strength that equality between women and men can bring. More, surely, than the ups and downs of efforts in America that started out from a very different place and time even though we do have a stake in the outcome.



Xandra Kayden is a Senior Fellow at the School of Public Affairs at UCLA, created the first women's program in the federal government since the Women's Bureau was created in 1920; and has writes about women, ethnic communities, and strategies for dealing with terrorism.

vintage
20.08.2010, 17:00
Azerbaijan (prior to being taken over by the Bolsheviks) established the first parliamentary democracy in the Muslim world and granted women the right to vote before the

И чем же наши девочки и женщины,хуже других?
Даже Америку општопали.