"Binders full of women" has dominated Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the late night talk shows in the days since last week's town hall debate. As the campaign draws to a close, the race will likely hinge on women voters. The issues hit very close to home: reproductive freedom, access to health care and immigration.
Some think Monday night's foreign policy debate will cut short the red-hot battle over the women's vote. Not true. The issues facing women around the globe are serious, and women's fates and freedom are tied tightly to larger U.S. policy imperatives.
Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have the digital equivalent of binders full of women -- in Amnesty's case, hundreds of cases of women's rights activists, imprisoned or otherwise targeted because they claimed their rights and defended the rights of others.
Seventeen years agothe fourth World Conference on Women established that "women's rights are human rights." That simple yet powerful statement is just as relevant today.
When the candidates meet for their final debate Bob Schieffer should ask about women. Here are three questions to start with:
- Fifteen-year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousufazi is fighting to recover from a gunshot wound after Taliban militants opened fire on her for simply demanding an education. She is emblematic of oppression of women and girls who are at risk from a Taliban bent on intimidating them from demanding their rights. What concrete steps will you take to support the rights and security of women at risk from the Taliban and other militant groups, and how can the stability of this key region be ensured if women's rights are at such grave risk?
These are just three examples of women at the forefront of the fight for human rights in societies all over the world.
We welcome Mr. Schieffer at Amnesty's offices to study our binders of women. He would be doing the women of the world and the United States a great service.