Education

Celebrating Women Who Work for Human Rights

By Mary Ann Zehr — November 14, 2008 1 min read

While watching a documentary play this week, sponsored by Vital Voices Global Partnership, I was amazed by how some women who have experienced great suffering have gone on to do a lot to help other people. This could be the case with some of the English-language learners in this country as well, many of whom have experienced war or extreme poverty. Or they may be able to identify with some of the stories of these women.

The play, Seven, tells the story of seven women from around the world who have fought for human rights. Those seven are Hafsat Abiola from Nigeria, Farida Azizi from Afghanistan, Anabella de Leon from Guatemala, Mukhtaran Mai from Pakistan, Inez McCormack in Northern Ireland, Marina Pisklakova-Parker from Russia, and Mu Sochua, from Cambodia. After a diverse group of actresses portrayed their stories in the play, five of those seven women were present to speak briefly about their work. Here’s the Washington Post‘s review of the play, published today.

Mu Sochua, who had been a refugee as a child and lost her parents to the genocide of the Khmer Rouge, had a successful career as a social worker in the United States. But she returned to her native Cambodia and fought child trafficking.

Mukhtaran Mai brought international attention to the issue of “honor crimes” against women in rural Pakistan. After being gang-raped by men from a rival tribe in her village, she took her rapists to court. She won a settlement that was the equivalent of $8,000. She spent the money on building a school in her village. She had been illiterate when she went to court; she learned to read and write in her own school.

These women are fighting some ugly stuff. “Acid Attacks Threaten Afghan Schoolgirls,” an Associated Press article posted today at edweek.org, reports on the cruelty that some girls and women continue to face because of their gender.

In my view, it’s important for all of us to do our part to uphold human rights--and to remember that some of the youth from the humblest of backgrounds who are immigrants in this country have the potential to do great things, as these women have done.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read