On international Women's Day 2006, I would like to salute some incredible women have and are makeing a difference, and whom I very much admire (neither my mother nor my wife would appreciate me putting their bio and photos up here).
Nancy Barry: Ms. Barry has been President of Women's World Banking since 1990, and has served on the WWB Board of Trustees since 1981. WWB is a global not-for-profit financial institution devoted to increasing poor women’s economic access, participation and power. Founded in 1979, WWB is at the forefront of microfinance globally. The WWB global network of 55 microfinance institutions and banks provide financial services to over 15 million low income women and men in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America and the Middle East. WWB had led work to build performance standards in the microfinance industry, and financial policies and systems that work for the majority.
Marian Wright Edelman: Founder and President of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The mission of the Children's Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind® and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Edelman speak at a University of California at San Francisco founder's day dinner and on top of everything else, Ms. Edelman is a powerful and moving orator.
Louise Arbour: Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour is best known as a chief prosecutor for tribunals into the genocide in Rwanda and human rights abuses in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. She earned an international reputation for courage and tenacity and gained the respect of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as human rights groups around the world. In February 2004, Arbour announced she would leave the Supreme Court in June to become the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She will replace Sergio Vieira de Mello, killed in the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad on Aug. 19, 2003. It takes takes courage to step into a position when the last person to hold this office was assasinated for defending human rights in Iraq.
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Ms. Clinton is included because she has earned my respect, not because the mere mention of her name will attract trolls from every corner of North America. She is a highly accomplished women which appears to be a threat to some men. Her credits include Editorial Board of the Yale Law Review, Counsel to the Children's Defense Fund (she interned with Ms. Edelman), and was asked by President Clinton to chair the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. As a driving force in health care reform in the US she came close to pulling together a package that would have provided for the first time, universal access health care to all Americans. Unfortunately, the poor and uninsured have no constituency with the US Congress. As the first women Senator for the State of New York she continues to work for progressive change. Flame on if you must
Cindy Sheehan: A late addition, this is one tough mother. While I disagree on her "bring the troops home now" stance, I can't say have a better moral solution to the human tragedy that is Iraq. I also admire her for continuing to speak out while being constantly vilified and attacked by the GOP attack dogs. G. Gordon Liddy, a former Nazi sympathizer even accused her of being anti-semitic. She has been called anti-american, a terrorist sympathizer, an extremist, and every obscene name in the book, often by people who have sacrificed little for thier positions.
Louise Fréchette: Another late addition on the recommendation of a commenter. She is the first Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. The post of Deputy Secretary-General was established by the General Assembly at the end of 1997 as part of the reform of the United Nations, to help manage Secretariat operations and to ensure coherence of activities and programmes. She is a former Deputy Minister of Defense and assistant deputy minister of trade and has served as Canada's ambassador to Argentina, Uraguay and Paraguay. She is being proposed by some as a potential leadership candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada.