The World We Seek: Panel 1: Women's Vision of a New Compact of Rights (video)
Moderator Pat Mitchell introduces four panelists and asks them to share their vision of universal human rights and how they may be achieved during WLP's The World We Seek: Reigniting the Dialogue on Human Security conference.
Gay McDougall addresses violence and discrimination through lenses of race and ethnicity. Denial of safety during wartime and economic exclusion are the most prominent tools used to further racist agendas all over the world. McDougall envisions a global economy that has moved beyond racism and has its role in meeting human needs, and an end to staggering inequalities within and between countries. The women’s movement has made great strides in challenging and changing the norms of racism, and we must continue to be “bold and disobedient.”
Karima Bennoune of Algeria describes a spreading theology of rape that plagued her home country of Algeria fifteen years ago, and that has since spread far beyond its borders. Governments in the middle east and beyond have collectively failed to take accountability and stop this violence from occurring.
Hasfat Abiola-Costello of Nigeria poses the question of how Nigeria’s newly-elected government will take responsibility for the future of Nigerian youth, many of whom have no plan, opportunities for upward mobility, or sense of belonging. “Tackling Boko Haram is not going to be enough. We have to let people know that Nigeria is big enough for all Nigerians.”
Jacqueline Pitanguy speaks on a dual rise of Christian fundamentalism and extreme political conservatism, which offers people an identity and security that the human rights agenda has failed to provide.
DISCUSSION. The panelists discuss how underrepresented and oppressed people can unite, as their greatest problems and obstacles are shared. They stress the importance of noncompliance with the status quo of male-dominated governments and women’s integration into local government elections as starting points for further change.
The panel notes that criticizing government is not enough, nor does women’s political participation guarantee positive outcomes for women. In order to maintain the gains achieved by the women’s movement, coalitions need to strategically decide what they are willing to give up and how to keep more pressing and often more difficult issues on the agenda. Power structures must be redefined and reordered to set up systems of accountability; this transformation can be sparked by media, civil society groups, and other institutions that have more flexibility to create new ideas.