April 2nd, 2014
06:40 PM ET

Does more women in power = more peaceful societies?

Fareed speaks with Tina Brown, founder of the Women in the World summit and former editor-in-chief of 'Vanity Fair', about whether having more women in powerful positions will lead to more peaceful societies. Watch the video for the full panel.

The one crucial distinguishing feature it seems to me that is at the heart of this is motherhood. To what extent do you think that shapes a woman's perspective as being different from a man?

I think a tremendous amount because I think that women have that extra nurturing gene, where they're trying to create a world in which their children can flourish. And therefore, they have in a sense more invested in creating a peaceful atmosphere.

It's very interesting at the moment, actually, how there are many women in Pakistan and in the Middle East now who are coming together against the whole question of Islamic terrorism. And there are – Sisters against Extremism is one organization, which is having quite an impact in the Middle East at the moment, which is about women who are getting together and really trying to talk to children about not becoming radicalized, and that are bonding together as women, as sisters, as mothers. And there's that impetus.

Also on the south side of Chicago, you're now seeing mothers bonding together and trying to come together to create programs and create initiatives that actually create more peaceful atmospheres amongst this gang warfare etc that's going on.

So I do think that women are more invested in that. And you saw it in Liberia also when the women came together and wanted to end that civil war. So I think these are the things that you're seeing, and I think you're going to see more and more of it as women rise and really are in charge.

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Topics: GPS Show • Women
April 1st, 2014
10:22 AM ET

Are women set for a 'third revolution'?

Fareed speaks with Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of the Huffington Post media group and author of Thrive, about the role of women in the workplace. Watch the video for the full panel discussion on the issue.

Do you think that there are these traits that are different between men and women and that they manifest themselves…because you're dealing with a lot of technology people at AOL, and that's a very male dominated world.

It is. But that's changing…We’re  living in the middle of a perfect storm, where we can see that the old way of doing things, the way that men have built workplaces, fueled by stress, live deprivation, exhaustion, is not working. It's not working for women, and it's not working for men. And so women are taking the lead in a way in what I consider in my new book on the "third women's revolution."

If you think of the first women's revolution being getting the vote. The second being giving us access to all the corridors of power and the top of every field, the third one is changing the workplace. Changing the world, in which women are competing, which I believe is going to be the fastest way to get more women at the top. Because right now women are paying a heavier price in stressful jobs. The data that is out, came out last year, is unequivocal, that women in stressful jobs have a 40 percent greater threat of heart disease and a 60 percent greater risk of diabetes.

So one of the reasons they're not competing as much at the top is because they know that we internalize stress differently and it's not working for us. And because of the way it's not working for anybody, there is more of a demand now to change the way we work and the way we live our lives.

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Topics: GPS Show • Women
Why water access matters to poverty reduction
March 21st, 2014
06:29 PM ET

Why water access matters to poverty reduction

By Amanda Klasing, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Amanda Klasing is a women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. The views expressed are her own.

This Saturday is World Water Day – a day the United Nations and its member countries have devoted to promoting sustainable management of the world's water resources. It seems fitting that it falls in March, women’s history month, because the lives of women and their families are inextricably linked to access to clean water and sanitation.

Over the last eight years, I’ve spent countless hours speaking with women and girls in Haiti about how access to clean water and sanitation shapes their lives.

Long before the 2010 earthquake, women told me how poor drainage and large-scale erosion left many homes, communities, and agricultural plots at risk of flooding. When hurricanes and tropical storms hit, they had watched as their homes, their families’ crops (and livelihood), and the only roads that connected them to the rest of society washed away toward the ocean.

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Topics: Development • Water • Women
March 7th, 2014
11:47 AM ET

Time for Pakistan's leaders to stand up for women

By Farahnaz Ispahani, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Farahnaz Ispahani, a former member of Pakistan’s parliament, is currently a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

International Women’s Day, being marked Saturday, is as good a time as any not just to celebrate how much progress has been made, but also how much farther there is to go on the road toward guaranteeing women’s rights. Sadly, for women in at least one country, the journey is getting increasingly arduous.

For decades, the status and rights of women in Pakistan have been a casualty of concessions made by the state to those clamoring for what they describe as Islamic rule. But with the Taliban’s call for the imposition of Sharia law during current peace talks between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Pakistani government, there are growing concerns that women’s freedoms will be further eroded.

The reality is that Pakistan’s women have no real voice in the government’s talks with the Taliban – not only is there a lack of representation on the government’s negotiating team, but negotiators from both sides represent a similar conservative religious viewpoint. And despite some changes in the negotiating procedure, and the men who will negotiate, the government remains committed to working with the Taliban instead of fighting them."

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Topics: Pakistan • Women
January 23rd, 2014
09:41 AM ET

Teach a girl, enrich the world

By Erna Solberg and Hannah Godefa, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Erna Solberg is prime minister of Norway and co-chair of the U.N. Secretary General’s Millennium Development Goals Advocates. Hannah Godefa is UNICEF National Ambassador for Ethiopia. The views expressed are their own. This is the latest in a series of articles ahead of a special GPS show from Davos this Sunday.

As the humanitarian crises in South Sudan and Syria and Central African Republic continue to unfold, girls are once again caught in the cross-fire. Murdered by soldiers, killed or sexually assaulted as they flee, their lives are being ravaged by wars they did not start. Once again, they are the victims of somebody else’s dispute, subjected to sexual violence by those hoping to achieve their military and political goals.

How much more are we willing to stand?

Currently 28.5 million children in conflict-affected countries are out of school, more than half of them are girls. It is not just their security, but their education and hope for a better life that are being ruined.

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Topics: Women
November 27th, 2013
06:27 PM ET

This Thanksgiving, remember women can end hunger

By Elise Young, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Elise Young is Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs at Women Thrive Worldwide, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group dedicated to women’s equality. The views expressed are her own.

It’s a long way from Benin to the family Thanksgiving table where I grew up outside of Philadelphia. But the people of this West African nation are never far from my mind, especially as I gather with my friends and family for Thanksgiving.

The daughter of a minister, I’m thankful for the many blessings in my life and especially for the food that I have to eat on a daily basis.

Not everyone is as lucky as I’ve been. Around the globe, nearly 840 million people are now considered “food insecure.” Almost 60 percent are women and girls – a despite the fact that women farmers actually produce most of the food in developing countries. Hunger is especially pronounced in developing countries like Benin, where one in three households is considered food insecure.

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Topics: Women
November 12th, 2013
09:36 AM ET

Why we should allow women to make their own family planning choices

By Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Special to CNN

Editor’s note:  Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a South African singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. The views expressed are her own.

Access to education, the right to make choices about your own body – these are things many of us take for granted. But the reality for many women and young people in developing countries is very different.

Denied rights to some very basic choices – such as how many children to have and when, whether to stay in school, and how to participate in their country’s economy – the story for young people is frequently one of opportunities curtailed. For some, this is about culture, custom, economics or just denial of basic human rights. For others it is as simple, yet life changing, as not having access to modern contraceptive methods.

I am in Ethiopia this week with politicians, researchers, young leaders, civil society groups and policymakers – a real mixture of organizations gathered together with one key objective – trying to change the way action is taken on access to family planning.

The International Family Planning Conference 2013 will showcase innovation and examine what needs to be done to enable nations to tackle the challenges they face. Why does this matter? Because more than 220 million women in developing countries lack access to contraceptives, information, and services.

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Topics: Africa • Women
When gender inequality is good economics
October 25th, 2013
09:10 AM ET

When gender inequality is good economics

By Saadia Zahidi, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Saadia Zahidi heads the Women Leaders and Gender Parity Program at the World Economic Forum and is founder and co-author of the annual Global Gender Gap Report, released October 25. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

Gender inequality is good economics. Yes, you read that correctly. While we know that individuals, economies and societies would benefit from gender parity in the long term, gender inequality is often a perfectly rational choice for individuals in the short term.

Gender imbalances, and their resulting economic consequences, are still startlingly visible everywhere, from the developed world to emerging markets. In Brazil, more women attend university than men, but women earn only a third of what men make for the same job. In the United Arab Emirates, three times as many women go to university as men, but half as many women participate in the labor force. Across Europe, women outperform men academically and enter the workforce in similar numbers, but occupy less than 15 percent of board positions. In Pakistan, where I grew up, a girl has only a 29 percent chance of making it into secondary school, compared to 38 percent for a boy.

There is irrefutable evidence on the economic contribution that women can make, from the familial and community level, to research showing that companies get a diversity dividend, to the World Economic Forum’s own global data on the correlations between gender and competitiveness, released this month. By some estimates, gender parity in employment could raise the GDP of countries such as the United Arab Emirates by 12 percent, Japan by 9 percent and the United States by 5 percent. While many institutions are constantly pointing to these potential collective gains, progress remains dismally slow. So what’s holding us back?

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Topics: Economy • Women
The right to education is under siege
October 9th, 2013
11:31 AM ET

The right to education is under siege

By Diya Nijhowne, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Diya Nijhowne is the director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, which was established in 2010 by groups concerned about ongoing attacks on educational institutions, their students, and staff in countries affected by conflict. The views expressed are the author’s own.

One year ago today, Malala Yousefzai and her classmates were on their way home from school in the Swat Valley, Pakistan, when two men stopped their school bus and climbed aboard. Malala described what happened next: “The Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too.”

Although the girls were badly injured, all three thankfully survived. Unfortunately, Malala and her classmates were not the only Pakistani students attacked in the past year. In June, for example, 14 female university students were killed when militants blew up their bus in Quetta, Balochistan, a western province.

Pakistan’s teachers and administrators have also been targeted. Five teachers were killed in January in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. In March, another was shot and killed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.  A principal and six school children died that month during an attack at their school in Karachi.

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Topics: Education • Women • Youth
Why reproductive health matters post-MDG
September 24th, 2013
09:19 AM ET

Why reproductive health matters post-MDG

By Tewodros Melesse, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Tewodros Melesse is director general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

We all want to live in a world without poverty, where people can achieve their potential and where health and education are guaranteed. Or at least I hope we do. But there’s a truth that needs to be spoken as discussions over the next generation of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) – the so-called Post-2015 framework – have gotten underway this week.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights were initially missing from the MDG framework, and that meant that amid all the goodwill and the good intentions money was wasted because a fundamental building brick of development was missing. And that’s before I even get started on the issue of justice.

Of course, political leaders eventually realized their mistake, but the omission was only partly rectified and then very late in the day. In 2007, the addition of the target of universal access to reproductive health by 2015 was made. And guess what?  The Millennium Development Goals relating to reproductive health – including access to contraceptives and adolescent fertility rates – made the least progress.

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Topics: United Nations • Women
The Obamas’ Africa opportunity
June 18th, 2013
10:39 AM ET

The Obamas’ Africa opportunity

By Janet Fleischman, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Janet Fleischman is a senior associate at the Global Health Policy Center of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (@CSIS). The views expressed are her own.

President Barack Obama’s trip to Africa this month is focused on the pressing issues of economic growth and investment, democratization, and the next generation of African leaders. Yet a central element for achieving those goals is missing from the list – advancing the health and empowerment of women and girls. The Obamas have an opportunity to make this trip historic by explicitly committing the United States to focus on women and girls as a key pathway to progress for Africa. But will they seize it?

The President and First Lady can speak powerfully to African and global audiences on these issues. On January 30, President Obama issued an unprecedented presidential memorandum on advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls globally, calling it “one of the greatest unmet challenges of our time.” For many who worried that the energy and commitment that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought to those issues might dissipate with her departure, this high-level statement was most welcome. Many have also wondered whether Michelle Obama herself might become a champion for global women’s issues in the second Obama term, building on her support for women and girls in the U.S.

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Topics: Africa • Women
June 16th, 2013
12:45 AM ET

'Everybody benefits from girls being educated'

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Egyptian-born columnist Mona Eltahawy about the situation in Turkey and her role in the upcoming documentary ‘Girl Rising,’ which is premiering this Sunday on CNN at 9 p.m. ET.

How does it look to you, from Cairo, what is going on in Taksim Square?

I think the most important thing about what's happening in Turkey is that for me, it seems like Turks are trying to find a middle ground or a third way between what used to be just kind of the Ataturk, nationalist way and the Islamist way, as modern as it is, of Erdogan. And for me, as a Muslim from the Middle East, that's really important.

You’ve spent 10 years in America and gone back to Cairo. Do you worry that while you would like to see a more secular republic, you're worried by Erdogan's Islamism or the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamism?

Um-hmm.

On the ground, that stuff is pretty popular. So when Erdogan has put in these moderate restrictions on the sale of retail alcohol or he talks about women being allowed to wear the head scarf, in my experience, all my friends in Istanbul hate him for it. But the country at large likes it, because [this is a] 99 percent Muslim country, most people are devout. That actually resonates a lot more than people think. I assume the same is true in Egypt. Do you worry that your preferences are actually the preferences of a very small urban, kind of educated class?

I often compare the Muslim Brotherhood and their platform to the Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. who love to tout moral values. It's very easy to tout moral values, to be against abortion, to be against same-sex marriage here. And in Egypt and in the Middle East, it's very easy to say I'm going to ban alcohol and I'm going to make sure that all girls can or should wear head scarves. That is too easy and that is a violation of people's rights.

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