Women, Nobel & Daily Life - Mark Blaisse
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Women, Nobel & Daily Life

Three African women won the Peace Nobel Prize 2011 for their achievements in the field of human rights for their sisters on the continent. At last a peace prize that is deserved. A very symbolic gesture from the Nobel comittee with a very clear message: even today the rights of women are not guaranteed at the level men’s are. I am of course not saying that men are safe in a world where 90% of all countries (including Europe and the US) believe human rights are a question of interpretation, not of law or actual human ‘right’… Three African women working in countries where it takes more than average courage to fight the suppremacy of men: Liberia and Yemen. Countries where war and social tensions weigh on the backs of all, but especially of those who have to run the families and -more often than not- the business: women, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts. This Nobel Prize is an appeal to all of us to think about the real role we give to the woman as a human being. Not out of politeness or education, not inspired by the  gender alibi  or by superficial opportunism, but the real thing: respect as equals.  The women who risk their lives by talking, unifying, caring, comforting and writing. No bullets needed to change their society. The power of words and conviction.

On November 8th the Dutch initiative ” Talent naar de Top” will organize a congress in Amsterdam called “Elevating Talent- Inspiring Leadership“, where, amongst others, Cherie Blair will speak (see www.talentnaardetop.nl). Another moment, I hope, of conscious approval of the work of women around the globe. Leaders are needed, but the real work is always done by the troops. All the women who are managers in their house, their shops and communities have to be honored as well. All those who cannot write books or travel to conferences. Female talent at the top has a responsibility to make sure that all talent gets a chance. And indeed,  only if men give them more room will more women become  more visible. Words are sharper than knives as we know. It’s just that we, men, so often forget. Hunters and farmers? Or stubborn warriors and peaceful realists? It is about time to listen to the tough language of realistic women, whether in Liberia and Yemen or in Washington and Paris.

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