Lisa Daftari on Women’s Rights Around the World
For many Americans, basic women’s rights are taken for granted and are not fully appreciated when compared to the human rights violations around the world. At this year’s National Conference, Lisa Daftari, TV and Radio Host/Commentator, combatted this ignorance to demonstrate how women’s rights are being violated around the world and how these violations are ignored by the media on a daily basis.
She stated that this ignorance stems from America’s focus on the horrific acts of harassment in the United States, such acts the #MeToo movement has revealed. Daftari noted that, while these are issues that must be addressed, they have made us apathetic to the plight of women around the world. Due to this increased focus on issues in America, it has caused American women to pose themselves as the victims in women’s rights violations and disregard the graver, more dangerous issues that face women every day in other countries.
Daftari went on to elaborate on several major news stories from this last week that were buried by the media, such as how the World Cup has revealed bans on Iranian women to enter stadiums or how Saudi Arabia just recently arrested more women’s rights activists. She also discussed how the media continues to say they are pro-women, yet attack Israel, when Israel is the only country in the Middle East to pursue greater women’s rights, such as equal pay and paid maternity leave.
Another major problem with foreign affairs today is the hypocrisy in the media. Daftari examined two similar diplomatic events: former President Obama’s meeting with Iran and President Trump’s meeting with North Korea. She described how, when Obama met with Iran to discuss nuclear policy but did not discuss Iran’s human rights violations, the media applauded. Yet, when Trump met with North Korea to get Kim Jong-un to stand down but did not discuss North Korea’s human rights violations, the media attacked Trump for not standing up for the North Koreans. Both presidents met with controversial leaders and did not discuss their human rights violations, yet the media only attacked Trump for this. The success and failure of a president is now based upon their personality rather than the actual success of their term in office.
After examining all the major issues, Daftari offered some insight regarding how to deal with the present foreign policy issues of the day.
“We must pay attention to what is going on around the world,” said Daftari. “Foreign affairs aren’t foreign. Foreign affairs are domestic affairs.”
Americans must evaluate all sides of a story and consider the nuance of each major issue. She cited an example of how Americans protested at airports against the travel bans and desired to let all people in; however, it is also important that Americans consider why these people are trying to come in, both regarding how their immigration into the U.S. will affect the U.S. but also whether or not the people are actually desiring to be here or see the U.S. as the only option to escape their homeland, despite their desire to stay.
Daftari also addressed the refugee crisis, challenging the audience to care for the refugee before they become refugees by working to better their quality of life in their country before they are forced to flee. The first step to fixing world problems is through knowledge of the world rather than becoming wrapped up only in the problems of the U.S., making the U.S. ignorant of foreign issues until they become domestic issues.
Following her lecture, Daftari took several questions from the audience ranging from how to view foreign affairs to the U.S.’s shortcomings in women’s rights. She noted that we must view foreign affairs through multiple lenses and attempt to understand them from the culture’s perspective rather than our own. She also went on to state that, when viewing America’s women’s rights issues, we must consider them in relation to the world’s women’s rights violations in order to keep them in perspective and realize just how blessed women are to live in the U.S.
Daftari concluded her time at the National Conference with an exhortation to the young women in the audience to stand up for the issues they are passionate about, become informed of women’s issues around the world, and be thankful to be a woman living in the United States.