"A Call To Action," a new book by President Carter available March 25 (Simon & Schuster), urges the end of discrimination and abuse against women, calling it the number one challenge in the world today. The book builds on the work of faith leaders and courageous human rights defenders who met last summer at The Carter Center to mobilize faith groups worldwide to commit to advancing women's rights. Religion, they said, should be a force for equality and human dignity not oppression.
In his new book, President Carter argues that people's actions are guided by international agreements as well as their own moral values, most often derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Bible, the Koran, and other texts that proclaim a commitment to justice and mercy, equality of treatment between men and women, and a duty to alleviate suffering. He also asserts it is not possible to address the rights of women, the human and civil rights struggle of our time, without looking at factors that create an acceptance of violence in our society — violence that inevitably affects women disproportionately.
Large-scale crimes against women enumerated in "A Call to Action" include: slavery, genital cutting, infanticide, child marriage, rape, honor killings, and economic and social deprivation. He calls on everyone to study these violations of basic moral values and take corrective action. President Carter writes, "My own experiences and the testimony of courageous women from all regions and all major religions have made it clear that there is a pervasive denial of equal rights to more than half of all human beings, and this discrimination results in tangible harm to all of us, male and female." A commitment to universal human rights is desperately needed if humanity is to escape the cycle of war, poverty, and oppression.
Tell Us What You Are Doing
The suffering of women and girls can be alleviated when individuals take forceful actions, which can impact larger society, asserts President Carter in "A Call to Action." Political and religious leaders share a special responsibility, but the fact is that all of us can act within our own spheres of influence to meet these challenges.
Join President Carter's call to action.
Tell us on our blog how you are working to fight discrimination against and abuse of girls and women in your community, nation, or worldwide.
In "A Call To Action," President Carter suggests 23 steps that can help blaze the road to progress:
1. Encourage women and girls, including those not abused, to speak out more forcefully. It is imperative that those who do speak out are protected from retaliation.
2. Remind political and religious leaders of the abuses and what they can do to alleviate them.
3. Encourage these same leaders to become supporters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other U.N. agencies that advance human rights and peace.
4. Encourage religious and political leaders to relegate warfare and violence to a last resort as a solution to terrorism and national security challenges.
5. Abandon the death penalty and seek to rehabilitate criminals instead of relying on excessive incarceration, especially for nonviolent offenders.
6. Marshal the efforts of women officeholders and first ladies, and encourage involvement of prominent civilian women in correcting abuses.
7. Induce individual nations to elevate the end of human trafficking to a top priority, as they did to end slavery in the nineteenth century.