Women in every society, in every corner of the globe, still suffer a disproportionate amount of the inequities that exist today. And more often than not, they suffer those inequities at the hands of men. In too many parts of the world, women are victims of domestic violence, are being trafficked and sold into sexual slavery, or are subjected to the horror of genital mutilation.
So today I want to lend my male voice to the call of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to speak out on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This must not be a day of women demanding their rights while we men stand idly by. Nor can it be a single day commitment.
Not only because men have long had a dominant role in our societies are we the ones who have a special responsibility to shout out for the rights of women. It is also a simple matter of fairness, justice, and decency. We men need to step forward to demand and protect the inviolable rights of our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends that we have always insisted on for ourselves. Women’s rights begin with freedom from fear of violence and oppression in any and all of its forms.
And gentlemen, as Americans and Estonians, as proud citizens of modern democracies, we can do even more than just demand the right thing. We can recommit ourselves to deepening our global partnership of concerted action on behalf of the other 50% of humanity.