Jimmy Carter Dedicating The Rest Of His Life Fighting For Women’s Rights

jimmy-carter

Former US President Jimmy Carter should be enjoying retirement right about now. But instead, the 90 year old (yep, NINETY!!) has decided is not done in leadership just yet. In an interview with CNN, he revealed that for the rest of his life, he is making it his mission to fight against the injustices toward women and girls worldwide.

In 2014 he released a book titled ‘A Call To Action’ which earned him a Grammy Nomination this year for Best Spoken Word, where he outlined specific areas that he believes have become a breeding ground for gender violence: religion and politics. He writes that there have been far too many cases of women being oppressed throughout history in the name of religion and politics. He ain’t wrong there!

But there have been major news stories over the past year which have firmly reiterated why his fight is more important than ever.

“He’s doing it for the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, for those who have become ISIS militants’ sex slaves and for girls everywhere who can’t go to school. He’s doing it for the estimated 160 million babies aborted or killed at birth in Asia in recent decades because they were not boys. He’s doing it for American college co-eds and women in the military who suffer rape and see the men responsible walk free,” writes Greg Botelho at CNN.

His desire to see equality around the world started while he was president of the United States in the 70s and 80s.

After his term in office, he started The Carter Center in 1982 which was founded by Jimmy and his wife Rosalynn who has been a major influence on him fighting for women’s rights.

jimmy-carter-quote

At a recent Carter Center summit attended by women from war-torn patriarchal regions around the world and various organizations fighting for their advocacy, the group discussed specific issues like honor killings and how they can end atrocities like this.

“The more (the Carter Center was) involved in 80 different countries around the world, the more we saw clearly the most serious and unaddressed human rights abuse on Earth is among women and girls,” he told CNN. “It’s much worse than I ever dreamed it was.”

Today he sees the way certain Islamic extremists groups like Boko Haram and even some Christian sects are reluctant to view women as equals.

The messages from extremists who try to justify enslaving, kidnapping and killing girls and women may be very loud, but the Carter Center representatives say the people fighting injustice need to be just as loud. They applaud the movement that has emerged recently which is trying to enlighten Muslims on the Prophet Muhammad’s stance on gender equality.

But the former President, who was a member of the Southern Baptist denomination of the Christian church in the US, said he is less impressed with the way the Christian and Catholic church have spoken about women in leadership positions.

jimmy-carter-quote

Mimi Haddad of Christians for Biblical Equality, a nonprofit group that bases its arguments for equal treatment of men and women on the Bible, says only a small fraction of leading evangelical theologians and pastors are women and such views can trickle down, from rationalizing violence against women to men dominating church scholarship and leadership.

Women cannot currently become Catholic priests, but if the current statements coming out of the Vatican from the Pope himself where he has challenged the existing dogmatic boundaries preventing women from having equal footing in the Catholic church and in the Catholic way of life, holding out hope for change in leadership may not be that far fetched of an idea.

“There is a very great reluctance among some Protestants, like Southern Baptists, among others, (to) treat women equally in the eyes of God,” said the former president, a longtime Sunday school teacher at a Baptist church in Plains, Georgia. “And that sends a signal that it is OK to discriminate against girls and women.”

Leadership in religion is just one of his areas of concern, the other is in politics and the trickle down effect it has on society. Currently, America is ranked 20th on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Equality index which compares men and women in health, education, economics and politics. Geez, that’s no exactly something to be proud of, especially since politicians every day claim that America is the “greatest nation on earth”, but the statistics don’t lie.

Interestingly, America is also the only industrialized nation in the world without government mandated and guaranteed maternity or paternity leave. Let’s just leave that there for you all to sink in. Now you can do the calculations yourself as to how that affects the work place and the burden placed upon men and women to hold up this economy. Doesn’t seem right, does it?

jimmy-carter-quote

Part of the struggle to gain equality is what Jimmy calls the “power dynamic”. Historically, men have long been in control of societies around the world, and when women rise up, men may feel threatened that their stronghold is being diminished. If only they would realize it is about reaching parity and working alongside them, not trampling on top of them.

This is why movements fighting for equality must continue to speak in order for the right information to filter through. What makes this fight so personal to Jimmy is his own family: his daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters. He wants to do all he can to leave the world a better and more equal place for future generations.

“Anybody that has a daughter or granddaughter knows how precious that person can be. And anybody who is interested in the future of (their) country or city that if they deprive half of their own citizens of an equal right to an education or an honest job, then their whole community is going to suffer,” he said.

“That’s your children and your children’s children,” he said, arguing that everyone should be similarly compelled. “And action needs to be taken.”

Women can’t keep waiting for change. We have waited throughout all of history. Now is the time to work alongside men to push for it. If a 90-year old former US president can write books, speak at conferences, travel the world and continue raising awareness for gender equality, then none of us have an excuse.

43 Comments

  1. President Carter is Baptist not Catholic

    • ” former president, a longtime Sunday school teacher at a Baptist church in Plains, Georgia. ” and “the former President, who was a member of the Southern Baptist denomination of the Christian church in the US”. The article never stated President Carter was Catholic only that he had spoken out against Catholic Church with the current Pope having written him.

  2. The problem with this article is that Jimmy Carter is not Catholic…hurts the integrity of the article when this important part is wrong.

    • The article does not say he is Catholic. It says he was Baptist, but that he criticizes them and Catholics alike for their treatment of women.

  3. “But the former President, who is a devout Catholic….” Might want to check on that. He has been, and is, a Baptist.

  4. Sharon Boothby says:

    Jimmy Carter is not a Catholic. This misinformation makes the whole article a bit suspect.

  5. Great piece. However, President Carter is a Baptist.

  6. Where have you read Carter is a Catholic? He’s been a Baptist his entire life, though he left the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000: http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/21/us/carter-sadly-turns-back-on-national-baptist-body.html?scp=6&sq=%22jimmy%20carter%22%20baptist%20church&st=cse

  7. On the closed subject of women’s ordination to the priesthood, the Pope in no way told President Carter that he believes “this will change in the future” as falsely reported in this article.

    “The church has spoken and says no … That door is closed.” He then noted that the role of women in the church cannot be limited “to altar girls or the president of charity; there must be more.” But he quickly got back to the biting issue: “With regards to the ordination of women, the church has spoken and says no. Pope John Paul [II] said so with a formula that was definitive. That door is closed.” He was referring to Pope John Paul’s 1994 document, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. In it, John Paul said the church has no authority to ordain women, and this view must be held by all as a definitive belief.” – National Catholic Reporter

    Enhancing the role and status of women in the church is mistakenly believed that they will be ordained. They cannot be. Christ chose men to be his apostles and instituted the priesthood for men only. This does which Christ bestowed on men is not to be confused with women having roles in authority and decision-making in other ares of the Church.

    • Actually, Jesus didn’t institute the priesthood, the burgeoning Christian church did that decades after the death of Christ. It is true that Jesus’ original apostles were men, but this is because of the strict separation of men and women in their roles in the Jewish religion. It is important to remember that the most significant event of Jesus’ life, his resurrection and ascension, he first shared with women, not men, telling the women to share the news. It may be inferred then that Jesus did indeed wish to have women share the new gospel. Jesus said in the new world, there will be neither male nor female, but all are one in Christ. Therefore, I believe that Jesus would disagree with the idea of not allowing women to become priests.

      • Rita Wilson says:

        Indeed….the role of a minister is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t wait for one of the 12 disciples. Jesus told Mary Magdalene to go and tell the others what you have seen…the good news of his resurrection. His command was her ordination. I was blessed 24 years ago to receive my ordination as a woman.

  8. I have to wonder just what “rights” Jimmy will be fighting for. There is no right any man has that a woman doesn’t have as well, but there are several rights women enjoy that men do not.

    Baby girls have to right to bodily autonomy – female genital mutilation is against the law. Males do not have the right to bodily autonomy – mutilating male genitals is widely practiced and staunchly defended by feminists.

    Women have 100% rights to bodily autonomy when it comes to parental rights. They can choose abortion, they can choose to force a man into paternity against his will, they can choose adoption, they can choose cop drop.

    Men can choose compliance or prison.

    Women can choose military service. Men are forced to register for Selective Service or face prison, loss of driving privileges, professional licences, government jobs and college loans, and in some states their voting rights.

    So tell us, Jimmy. What rights, specifically, are you going to spend your dying days fighting for us?

    • Hmmm. Genital mutilation is a common practice in much of the world. Women have no voice or no rights, not even the right to drive a car. Millions are suffering at the hands of men throuhout the world. Did you honestly believe that he was talking about the United States alone? There is a much bigger picture out there than our little corner of this planet. Why bash the man for wanting to do something good?

    • Um… “He’s doing it for the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist extremist group Bqoko Haram in Nigeria, for those who have become ISIS militants’ sex slaves and for girls everywhere who can’t go to school. He’s doing it for the estimated 160 million babies aborted or killed at birth in Asia in recent decades because they were not boys. He’s doing it for American college co-eds and women in the military who suffer rape and see the men responsible walk free,”

    • Thank you for saying this. Lately, I see a ton of social media posts that would have to be considered sexist, yet because they are against men instead of women they’re considered great. It seems like society outright hates men, yet no one notices. I once considered myself a “male feminist,” but the feminist movement achieved legal equality decades ago, and now is just attacking men.

      • Legal equality? When women still earn roughly 40% less than men? When women hold fewer than than 20% of congressional seats and less than 15% of CEO positions? We still live in a male defined and dominated society. To not see that is to be willfully blind.

    • Connie Coultre says:

      Apparently you can’t read because most of the article is about women in other countries.You mouthed off without even reading it you old bitter hag Republturd 🙂 You are one of the American Taliban after women right here at home with your religious garbage and hate.

    • um are you serious susie parker

    • Didn’t you read the article?

  9. Judy Dirks says:

    Thank you President Carter.You are in my prayers

  10. Let’s focus on an error in the article that distracts us from the critical importance of the President’s message. We are looking for writers who support the President’s real message and seeks to build up, rather than expoit women and children.
    http://Www.UniversitEPublishing.com

  11. Sure, let’s focus on the error, not uphold the importance of the President’s message.

  12. “Interestingly, America is also the only industrialized nation in the world without maternity or paternity leave.”

    I hope that you meant “without mandatory paid maternity or paternity leave.” Otherwise, that statement would be somewhat false on its face.

    For the last 22 years, the U.S. has had the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Among the allowable FMLA leaves are maternity and paternity leaves. However, not every organzation is subject to the FMLA. And, even if it is, not every employee qualifies for it (basic requirements are 1,250 or more hours worked in the 12 months prior to applying for FMLA leave).

  13. JimmyCarter WAS a Baptist. That is what the article states.m Further, I listened to an interview with him some years ago where he stated he left the Baptist church because of their viewpoints about women. And he his outspoken about other churches, including the Catholic Church and their stance with women. He is my hero! God bless him. He remains in my prayers. He was a President way ahead of his time on many issues.

  14. Dean Anthony says:

    First, let me say that Jimmy Carter is doing a great service for women and is a hell of a man and activist. He could just sit at home and paint like another former U.S. President does. He has cancer but still keeps fighting and doing activism work. That’s more than fantastic (and any adjective used here would be an understatement).
    That said, most of the people, so far, that have liked or who have commented on line about it are women. Of course a woman would agree that abuse against them is the most omnipresent and unaddressed.
    SPOILER ALERT: I’M ABOUT TO UPSET SOME OF YOU
    Personally, I think that abuse is abuse, perversion is perversion, sin is sin, and human rights violations are committed against every gender at every level. To say that the abuse of women is the most pervasive, is debatable. One could argue that ageism is the most pervasive as it effects both sexes. The same could be said for racism, the persecution of Christians, the Holocaust, homophobia, kidnapping victims, human trafficking victims, incest or sexual abuse victims, or those who suffer genocide.
    Everyone thinks that the suffering of their own group is the worst. How does one even measure the levels of hate and abuse waged against themselves in comparison to another’s? Some of you haven’t even experienced any abuse in your life. Even if you have, it is no greater or less than anyone else’s with the exception of the abuse suffered by a child -girl or boy. ABUSE OF ANY KIND TO ANY CHILD IS THE MOST PERVASIVE IN THE WORLD AS CHILDREN OF BOTH GENDERS ARE SUFFERING IN EVERY COUNTRY IN EVERY RACE EVERYDAY.
    This is just my opinion.

    • Sara Rodgers says:

      Dean Anthony,
      You are so right about the Children of the world and the horrible abuse they suffer every day. The thing is, if Mr. Carter wishes to address the issues suffered by women, I say good for him. There are definitely issues to be fought and the more the merrier. However, to splinter into smaller numbers when addressing the issues of one group as opposed to others, probably decreases the effectiveness of the goals.

      I would then agree, that gathering all the resources into one fight, the fight against child abuse, be it sexual, violence, or legal (as seen in trying juveniles as adults in American courts), is the best overall cause for becoming active in human rights violations.

      I think what Mr. Carter and the Carter foundation are trying to do is to raise women to a level of equal governing and equality in judicial matters so they can be more effective in how the world is governed. ie. women as sex slaves and the bias with which our courts deal with men who commit crimes against women and children, an issue I have always found appalling.

      By having more women in more powerful positions in policymaking, the issues of women and children should theoretically become more important in the mainstream. It is happening anyway, albeit very very slowly.

      I do agree that if women want equality in some areas they must be willing to accept equality in other areas such as in the military service. If men are required to register, so should women be required, etc.

      Men and women differ in many ways. Where there is not justification for the consideration of differences they should not be considered and equal pay for doing the same job should be mandatory as long as women and men perform equally as well in that position. There is still an unspoken good ole boy policy in business and in politics that fears women will encroach thereby ending the BS. That is happening, again far too slowly.

      The Catholic Church is wrought with male dominated antiquated ideals, even more so than other religions, except maybe those found in Islam, but the difference there is marginal. In its many translations, the Bible has kept what the translators felt would benefit their ideals rather than translating it word for word. It has always been a man’s world but given the state of it in the 21st century,

  15. Thank you Mr. Carter. For using your years as a former president to fight for things you felt in your heart. And I’m so sorry that I ever thought you were a stupid peanut farmer. I too have grown. I truly bow down and am forever grateful for your service not only for our country but for our world. May the wings of angels carry you to your future.

  16. Colleen McKenna says:

    Similar to the “All Lives Matter” response to the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s not surprising that some people have responded to his desire to fight for women’s rights by talking about how oppressed men are. Jimmy Carter has picked a cause, it’s a worthy one and I hope he is able to continue this passion for years to come.

  17. Love the content, but when I see so many errors in grammar, and typos, I wonder the credibility of the “jounalist”. It is frustrating and disheartening to see so much of these days.

    • Sara Rodgers says:

      Susan,

      I have been thinking the exact thoughts on so many articles in the media and elsewhere lately. Good Grief! Does anyone proofread anymore?

  18. Great mission, and one of the urgent mission.

  19. If a 90-year old former US President “With brain cancer!” can do it…
    He’s amazing and deserves far more than the meager credit that the Republicans give him.

  20. Pingback: Something Good | A Thousand Shades of Gray

  21. Ex-president Jimmy Carter is a truly honorable man who would defend the basic human rights of women: to be free, autonomous people, to have the right to be educated, to not be enslaved or violently attacked. He is a man of integrity, honesty, and morals. THANK YOU for dedicating the rest of your life so that women everywhere can live free!!!!

  22. Feminists do not “Staunchly Defend” circumcision. –Absolutely no they do not–. The –VAST MAJORITY– of feminists are fervent intactivists who want bodily autonomy for ALL children, not just girls. Go spread your lies and antifeminist fearmongering nonsense elsewhere where misogynists eat it up without fact checking. All you have to do is pay attention to actual feminists talking about this to see that bodily autonomy is a HUGE important Feminist issue and we would NEVER encourage or support violating that just because the body in question is male. Painting Feminists as man haters is the oldest anti-feminist trick in the book, but it’s a tired old trope you really need to retire, especially since Intersectional Feminism helps men and the VAST MAJORITY of modern Feminists are Intersectional Feminists.

  23. Pingback: Herb as Medicine | Marijuana Free Press

  24. With his new initiative for worldwide women’s equality, President Carter must face the hard fact that without reproductive freedom, every woman with an unintended pregnancy puts that woman’s life at risk- for poverty, depression, poor prenatal care, domestic violence, drug/alcohol issues in her family, poor education and child care options and a miriad of other problems that make for reduced self-actualization for every member of her family. I am a Christian and truly believe abortion is a horrible decision a woman must make at times but I feel it takes a lot of moral courage to do what is right for her and her family’s lives. It is Situation Ethics. Trying to serve love to the greatest in each situation.

Leave a Reply