Christiane Amanpour Tells Us Why It’s Crucial to Shine a Light on Gender Inequality Every Day
March 27, 2019
Celebrated CNN and PBS journalist Christiane Amanpour talked with InAsia this week about why she’s so committed to shining a spotlight on women’s lives.
On April 3 in New York City, The Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle will honor celebrated journalist Christiane Amanpour and pioneering social enterprise SafetiPin with its annual Lotus Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations for their contributions to women’s and girls’ empowerment in Asia.
This year’s awards arrive at a remarkable time of spreading international activism against the casual abuse and overt violence that thwart women’s aspirations and endanger their lives.
Conceived at a moment of international revulsion over the brutal, 2012 rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a New Delhi bus, SafetiPin works like a smartphone traffic app to assess the safety of public spaces in real time and generate a safety score for specific areas. To date, it has spread to 44 cities in more than 10 countries worldwide.
“The fear of violence in public spaces affects the everyday lives of women,” says cofounder Kalpana Viswanath. “It restricts their movement and freedom to exert their right as citizens of the city—the freedom to move, to study, to work.”
In the West, the #MeToo movement has produced a stream of accounts of powerful men in politics, media, and business who have used their positions to harass, assault, and intimidate women.
“Everyday assault and rape, at home, at school, at friends’ homes, at parties, has been a way of life for women in the United States, Europe, and around the world for centuries, and we are still struggling to beat that phenomenon,” says Amanpour. “The positive news is that, since the #MeToo outing, there’s been a huge and public accountability curve for men behaving badly.”
The veteran news anchor and foreign correspondent has recently turned her attention to important issues in the lives of regular people that often don’t make international headlines. In a new documentary, Sex and Love around the World, Amanpour meets women in various countries to discuss the changing roles of both men and women and how they relate to sex, love, marriage and divorce. She says that women around the world are feeling the #MeToo moment.
“They are—often in much worse forms and with no laws or civil-rights traditions to protect them or enable them to seek accountability.”
When women are driven from the public square or the marketplace of ideas by traditional gender roles, male-dominated institutions, and sexual harassment, she says, it affects not just women, but the health of their communities and our world.
“It’s proven over and again by the best statistics and studies from the United Nations and other top organizations: when women are equally represented—and protected—in all walks of life, every social, political, health, and economic indicator rises.”
The Asia Foundation’s Lotus Leadership Awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for their contributions towards women’s and girl’s empowerment in Asia. The Awards are hosted annually by the Foundation’s Lotus Circle, a community of individuals, foundations, and corporations advancing the rights and opportunities of women in Asia.
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