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Getting At the Root Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by dharisha, Sri Lanka Aug 27, 2002
Human Rights   Opinions


“I am a woman. And a woman who wonders everyday if she will ever see the day when it is safe to venture out at night alone. A day when my attire no longer determines if I face harassment. A day when no longer face prejudice of any kind in my work place, because I am female. The question is, will this day ever come?”

All this talk of sustainable development these days-it got me thinking. What do I really want different about the world. Something pertaining to me, and common to any other woman. While I want more access to the world’s resources, and more emphasis on equal opportunities, I am keenly interested in the things that affect me….day to day.

This is not another discourse about rape, or harassment. It’s not more whining about equal job opportunities or more money. This is about the woman. What is being done at these grand summits, at these global conferences, to change her status in the world today? Are any of the voices raised at these summits, those of women who really feel what today’s woman feels? Is she just another “NGO type” championing the cause of something she knows little or nothing about?

Here’s what I think: why aren’t there more representatives from among the “rank and file” as it were? Couldn’t you and I, the woman selling potatoes at the market place, the rural schoolteacher and the modern mother of three have something to share with the rest of the delegates? And wouldn’t we perhaps have more to share in terms of development, than your average diplomat or Voluntary Organization representative. No doubt these people have gathered information from almost all sections of women at the ground level, but knowing OF a problem is not the same as living it as we all know.

Far too many of these workshops and conferences revolve around parties dealing remotely with issues concerning women get involved. Those of us who encounter the problem day-to-day have no voice and little or no access to information about the outcome of such “high-level” meetings. The question on everyone’s minds is will Johannesburg be different? And if it is to be, what about the summit is already any different from any of the others?
The thing we need to understand about sustainable development is that it includes real people. And their problems cannot be understood and addressed, merely from a piece of paper or a fancy speech. No amount of discussion among people who don’t really feel and know the problem will bring about a solution-a REAL solution I mean. Not one that exists only in theory.

What do you think? Do you think your opinion as a young woman living in today’s world could make a difference at these conferences that rant and rave about making phenomenal changes in the world? Do you think that not enough attention was being paid to the woman and the issues relevant to her at ground level? And how can this be brought to the attention of decision makers in the world today?



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