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Hi, I'm hoping you can be of some assistance. I am writing a sociology essay on common bonds among women everywhere from the western world to third world women, and I'm trying to find support for my arguments that women everywhere experiences sexism, inequality and even gential mutilation of women in third world countries can be compared to plastic surgery for women in the west and how a patriarchal society enforces this on women. I'm really interested to hear if you would have some info on how to obtain more information on matters like these. Anything would be of interest, thank you so much in advance. Sincerely, Alexandra Nilsen

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. I think that your essay sounds right on track. I have personally attended many meetings with feminists from around the world. Consistently issues of sexism--or issues that arise as a result of sexism--are raised, regardless of what country one comes from. The one difference is how you prioritize issues. For instance, in the United States access to health care is an issue. In Cuba, the issue is better health care. In Sierra Leone a top issue is equal access to education, in Japan is the increasing numbers of eating disorders. There are no issues that women are immune to, it's just a matter of what different groups of women are prioritizing at that time.

A good articulation of that is the Beijing Women's Conference--where women from around the world agreed on the 13 point Platform for Action. This covers issues such as armed conflict, education, the girl child, violence against women, etc... Again all issues affect women around the world. It's just that in certain places at certain times certain issues are a greater priority.

So, perhaps you should try to use the Beijing conference as an example. The Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) has a copy of the Platform.

Another example is what has recently been happening in Afganistan--the Taliban's "imprisonment" of women. Many people in this country have expressed their concern and asked what they could do. My response has tried to be: look around your own community and I'm sure you will find ways that women are being equally (though in a different manner) persecuted.


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