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Monday, April 2, 2012

Top 10 Quotes from Remarks by Dr. Madeleine Albright at USAID Today (April 2, 2012)


Photo from Wikipedia

I was fortunate to witness Dr. Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State, give this speech. Three parts that stand out:

  • When she talked about waiting to "get the call" from the President - nerve-racking! And the "hold music"...
  • Remembering being a "carpool Mom" who "did my share of photocopying." She found it hard to believe that being Secretary of State could really happen to her.
  • How her granddaughter, upon hearing she was going to give this speech, is a product of the feminist movement and so said something to the effect of, "What's the big deal about being a female Secretary of State?"
Dr. Albright was emphatic that feminism is really about both women and men partnering to "hold up the sky" together, not a "war of the sexes" - counterproductive.
In any case, here are the highlights (obviously all this is personal opinion - not representing the agency in this post):

  1. "Gender-based discrimination is neither inevitable nor acceptable; bigotry and chauvinism can be overcome."
  2. "There is a direct linkage between extreme poverty and the under-valuing of women; we cannot defeat one without attacking the other.
  3. "No country can build a healthy and growing economy or establish a true democracy if half its people are held back, pushed aside, left behind, or beaten up."
  4. "More than a century ago, Abraham Lincoln declared that a nation divided against itself cannot stand. Today we can say that a country that denies power to its women will never reach its potential."
  5. "Too often, the innocent-whether women, children, or men--are forced to play the role of victim, a part they do not choose, but in the absence of power, cannot escape."
  6. "The good news is that progress toward freedom, prosperity and justice can be made when democratic countries refuse to accept anything less, when brave people stand together, and when agencies such as USAID receive the backing they need to help."
  7. "The equality that matters most can neither be fully encompassed by statistics, nor based on the idea that women and men are somehow identical, which of course they are not."
  8. "In the strictest sense, equality is an insufficient goal because equality in misery is still misery."
  9. "We are, of course, mindful that progress in ending discrimination occurs step by step and that each victory becomes a platform upon which the next may be built."
  10. "Our shared task is to keep building until we have raised enough platforms high enough to transform the very horizons of the Earth."
Official source here.