In the midst of the Benghazi scandal, Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida and chairman of the National Constitution Center, will award Hillary Clinton the Liberty Medal in honor of her career in public service and “her advocacy efforts on behalf of women”.
The award will be presented on Tuesday, September 10, 2013. This is the eve of the first anniversary of the September 11th, 2012 attack in Benghazi.
According to the Center’s website, “Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will receive the 2013 Liberty Medal in recognition of her lifelong career in public service and her ongoing advocacy efforts on behalf of women and girls around the globe … Throughout her nearly four-decade career as one of America’s most dedicated public servants, Secretary Clinton has continued to champion equal opportunities for women and girls in order to advance the security and prosperity of all people and nations.”
Have women fared better under former Secretary of State Clinton?
Irshad Soomro writes in The Nation, “Every morning, we hear many diverse stories of domestic violence, honor killing, forced and early marriage, acid throwing, and rape. The volume of women violation, discrimination and harassment; particularly in Sindh [South Eastern Province in Pakistan], is increasing day by day. Somewhere, a sister has to lose her life for the sake of honour, whereas, the next one is forced into marriage by an offending party to the males victim, as consideration of comprising offences; the custom is called ‘vani’.”
“Much has been written and spoken about women violence in Pakistan, but all these efforts proved useless. In spite of women protection laws, government institutions seem helpless and dysfunctional before feudal power, the only custodian of policymaking institutions and law enforcement agencies. Woman emancipation is related with her education and economic empowerment, and if, the state really wants to empower and emancipate women, it must pass a law of mandatory education for girls with strict punishment. Any parent who does not educate his female child up to secondary level should be punished. Women’s education is the only way to nation’s peace and prosperity,” notes Soomro.
The Times of India reports ‘No change in women’s plight’. Tejaswini Madabhushi writes, “I don’t see a visible change as yet. Women who come to us with complaints of domestic violence, which is the most common complaint, still say that the police refuse to register complaints immediately and always try to brush the matter off as petty family dispute,” said V Sandhya, president of Progressive Organisation of Women.
Advocacy and effort are fine but as Soomro points out “these efforts are proved useless”.
Awarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the Liberty Medal should perhaps be based upon results, not effort?