Freedom To Choose

Culture changes all the time. Men, more than women give direction to a change of attitude and behavior to fit the environment and the situation that they face in life. In most human societies, when the men dominate the direction of change, they are doing it to meet their own needs, their own power of control. As the head of family, they make the most important decisions without consulting with anyone. Wives and daughters are treated as dependent members of the family with no independent voice, no decision-making power. They have only to obey the order of the male head of the household. Conservative leaders of government’s and of most religions in the world support the male-dominated family structure. Women, by themselves, have little influence to change traditional culture which has victimized them. They need help from us, from liberal/democratic governments, local and international community organizations to protect them from perpetual cycles of torture, domestic violence, and from honor-killing by parents and male relatives. Women, who stand up for their human rights and dignity, have become prisoners in their own homes. Many have lost their lives as punishment. For decades, I have joined the United Nations global campaign to stop violence against women, and urge everyone to help women who are locked in this kind of life-threatening danger. We need both men and women to join in this joint effort to change this kind of oppressive culture that prevents the movement of women beyond the household compound, and limits their freedom of expression in the family and community.

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