A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power


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The world’s discrimination and violence against women and girls is the most serious, pervasive, and ignored violation of
basic human rights: This is President Jimmy Carter’s call to action.

President Carter was encouraged to write this book by a wide coalition of leaders of all faiths. His urgent report is
current. It covers the plight of women and girls—strangled at birth, forced to suffer servitude, child marriage, genital
cutting, deprived of equal opportunity in wealthier nations and “owned” by men in others. And the most vulnerable, along
with their children, are trapped in war and violence.

He addresses the adverse impact of distorted religious texts on women, by Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims.
Special verses are often omitted or quoted out of context to exalt the status of men and exclude women. In a remark that
is certain to get attention, Carter points out that women are treated more equally in some countries that are atheistic
or where governments are strictly separated from religion.

Carter describes his personal observations of the conditions and hardships of women around the world. He describes a
trip in Africa with Bill Gates, Sr. and his wife, where they are appalled by visits to enormous brothels. He tells how
he joined Nelson Mandela to plead for an end to South Africa’s practice of outlawing treatments to protect babies from
AIDS-infected mothers.

Throughout, Carter reports on observations of women activists and workers of The Carter Center. This is an informed and
passionate charge about human rights abuses against half the world’s population. It comes from one of the world’s most
renowned human rights advocates.

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