This dovetails nicely with yesterday’s post, and with the fact March is both Women’s History Month and, of course, the month that encompasses the unofficial national holiday of Ireland and Irish Americans. Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first woman president, is out with a new book called Everybody Matters. NPR reports:
For seven years, Mary Robinson served as the first female president of Ireland. Yet, she also has a long record of service as a human rights advocate.
After leaving office in 1997, she was appointed as the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations. She now runs The Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice. This week, she has a new book out called Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice.
[On All Things Considered, Robinson said:] “To me, there is an injustice that we have to draw attention to, but the good news is, there’s so much we can do. I find it shocking that ... 1.3 billion people out of the 7 billion in our world today don’t have any electricity. But even more so that 2.6 billion, mainly women, still cook on open fires — with coal, with wood, with animal dung — and ingest fumes that cause 4 million to die every year, and that's a lot of people.
“So, how come when we have clean cook stoves now, when we have D lights that can be recharged in the solar, wonderful sun that shines in poor developing countries, how come we haven’t got the solidarity as a race to say, ‘Everybody should have the basics of clean water, light in the home’?
“That to me is what being part of human life together is about.”
And it’s equally interesting to observe that Ireland elected its first woman as head-of-state in 1990. That’s twenty-three years ago. Meaning that Ireland will have elected a woman to its presidency at least twenty-six years before the United States does, if the United States does in 2016. Granted the presidency in Ireland is, for the most part, a ceremonial position. Still, the president is directly elected by the Irish people, so it’s not insignificant that they chose Robinson.
Everybody matters, indeed.[Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]