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F o r e w o r d Amy Gutmann The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. —Jane Addams Long before the University of Pennsylvania hosted the 18th Congress of the International Council on Women’s Health Issues, American suffragist Jane Addams was skillfully integrating her argument for extending voting rights to women with trenchant observations about health, the environment, and nutrition. Writing in 1915, she advocated for women’s active involvement in the public sphere, emphasizing that individual action alone could not provide access to transportation, housing, and unpolluted air and water, or ensure the availability of safe and nutritious food. Nearly a century later, we continue to draw connections between women’s opportunities and the places in which they live. Addams would certainly marvel at our progress, but she also would remind us that if we do not continue to broaden the scope of our efforts “we shall fail to go forward, thinking complacently that we have ‘arrived’ when in reality we have not yet started.” Securing voting rights was, indeed, a historic policy breakthrough, but women’s journey to control their own destiny is far from being over. Despite inspiring progress around the world, far too many women and girls continue to suffer abuse and to meet unimaginable fates. They are systematically tortured and raped as a war tactic. They are exploited for profit, forced into marriages as children, and killed for bringing dishonor on their families. The access of women and girls to education, health care, and employment is grossly unequal to that of their male counterparts, and true gender equality remains a goal for all nations. Since 2006, the three x Amy Gutmann highest ranking countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report—Iceland, Finland, and Norway—have closed a little more than 80 percent of their gender gaps, whereas the lowest ranking country —Yemen—has closed less than half of its gender gap. Societies the world over continue to squander the potential of half of the human race to contribute to economic, political, and social advancement. We honor the advancement of women’s rights most fittingly when we dedicate ourselves to the important work that remains. The future is filled with daunting challenges, but also with thrilling opportunities for world-changing success. To boldly advance human rights and women’s health in the twenty-first century, we must continue to increase awareness , to promote action, and to advance assessment of our policies and our practices. Only then will we truly celebrate the end of the journey and share a “common life” distinguished by equality and opportunity for all. Increasing Awareness The emergence of new technology and the surging popularity of social media enable us to personalize global issues and to increase awareness of human rights. In 2009, when a 26-year-old Iranian civilian, Neda Agha-Soltan, was shot during a demonstration in Tehran, a bystander recorded her final moments on his cell phone. The footage and news of her death spread rapidly over Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, drawing international attention to the political protests. Stories like Neda’s increase awareness around the world by connecting statistics and reports with faces and names. The digital age has given us unprecedented access to vast amounts of information, and opportunities abound to learn about and to communicate directly with people who would have been strangers to us a generation ago. By harnessing new technology, we move from abstractions to concrete examples of both tragedy and triumph, and the urgency of the global women’s movement crystallizes. Promoting Action Over the past decade, grass roots initiatives and partnerships to empower women have sprung up around the world. These collaborations embrace the complexity inherent in globally oriented interventions and promote understanding of cultural differences as a means to achieve Foreword xi progress. Promoting and supporting action in local communities gives rise to successful models that can be modified and replicated. One of my favorite examples has roots at the University of Pennsylvania . After learning of Muhammad Yunus’s work with Grameen Bank and meeting him in person, Wharton alumna Roshaneh Zafar returned to her native Pakistan and started the Kashf Foundation, the country’s first specialized microfinance organization. Through Kashf, women from low-income communities have access to loans and insurance . Since 1997, the foundation has worked with more than a million families, providing small sums of money...


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