It Starts With Women (Video)

By Kathy Bushkin Calvin, CEO, United Nations Foundation

I’m here in Liberia with Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day in the only African country that has a female President. Still recovering from its civil war, Liberia is full of opportunity and the determination to build back its country. It starts with the women.

We’ve met women who are government ministers, senators, security officers, and peacekeepers. Each of them proved to me that this country has already adopted the concept of women in leadership as a critical part of the path forward. We met with women in their communities, in rural villages and small towns. They introduced us to a “peace hut” program — a place where men and women could come together to resolve conflicts in their neighborhood.

Girls are an important part of the future here in Liberia. They have to be part of our focus. Many girls have two children by age 15 and the number who complete secondary school is low. But the girls we met today told Michelle Bachelet they want to be a doctor, a lawyer, pastor, Minister of Finance, and President. She replied that she was a doctor and then a president…and that every girl can be. She told them we need everyone’s help and that women must lead.

So as we celebrate International Women’s Day 2011 in Liberia, with two women who have made history as their countries’ first female presidents, we can all learn from their journeys and their conviction that it all starts with the women.

This article was originally published by the United Nations Foundation.

For more Care2 coverage on International Women’s Day, click here.


Photo courtesy of Bread for the World via flickr
written by Kathy Bushkin Calvin, CEO, United Nations Foundation


Bon L.
Bon L6 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago

As the GOP takes US women back to the 10th century...

Teena Marie
Teena Marie6 years ago

it is the WOMEN of today who'll do the great action forward where the Men had left behind ignoring the capabilities of a woman, making her a secondary citizen of sorts! it's about time, for us women to move forward & steadfast, to prove to the world that we can . . not only as domestic entities to do the chores for the home, we are capable of running the government, teaching the world, doing great works for business & the economy, working towards the progress of every nation! Salutes for the women of Liberia, more power to all the women in the world today, who labors hard to be acknowledged!

Shell S.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thank you for the article. Posted it on facebook. : )

Patricia M.
Patricia Metzger6 years ago

It's time for the women in this country to pull up their big girl panties and start fighting back to keep the rights we have worked so hard for for so long. We cannot allow the republican and tea party men to take us backward!

rhonda t.
rhonda t6 years ago

sadly, while strides are being made on women's rights in other nations, here in the US we are losing ground in a dramtic, ad sickening way.
An example; they have arrsted 18 men and boys for a gang rape of an 11 yr old girl according to a news release in the NYT today. The whole focus of the article seemed to be not what damage might have been done the girl, but rather on how this would change the lives of the rapists-all good, upstanding 'citizens' of this Texas town. I couldnt believe it, they made comments about how'the girl dressed provocately and had on make if somehow this made it okay for a gang to not only rape her but also tape it with a cell phone and spread it around at school to BRAG on what they did! The only mention of the girl other than the attempts to blame her was to say she had moved to another district, and one church was 'praying for her'. Other than that, the whole focus seemed to be on what might be more men/boys invovled BEYOND the known 18, and how this harmed 'the community and these males futures.
I hope one of the bloggers on here checks it out further. I am outraged as a victim of rape myself to know that ANYBODY is still making excuses for those who assult others in such a devastating and invasive way. And I hope enough public attention makes sure these people in this town arent able to sweep it under the rug and just wrist slap the ones involved because they were 'from good families'.

May Howie
may Howie6 years ago


Dennis Warren

It COULD all start with women, but so many men will do whatever they can to prevent women from doing anything of worth and value that I think it also needs to start with men changing their preconceived notions of women. Just look at what the rethugs/teahadists are doing in Congress; they'd love to bring us all back to the 50's when women "knew their place". And if you're talking about women like bachmann, palin, coulter and malkin, I would prefer that it ends with them going the way of the Dodo.

Ian Donelson
Ian Donelson6 years ago

Great stuff.

RJ I.6 years ago

A year and a half ago a young woman (mid-20s) I worked with told me she did not see a reason to continue women's movements, she told me she felt it was no longer an issue. I think now, more than ever, we have to push harder than we ever have. We need to push one another as well as having expectations nothing short of a view of full equality from men.