In Their Own Words

Jun 19, 2009

“More than one woman dies every minute from preventable causes in childbirth, and for every woman who dies as many as 30 others are left with lifelong, debilitating complications… Not only is maternal mortality and morbidity a global health emergency, but it triggers and aggravates cycles of poverty that cause generations of suffering and despair. But it is not just a hopeless tragedy. We know what is needed to save women’s lives; we have known for 60 years what care women need when they face obstetric complications. The reason that women are still dying is because women’s lives are not valued, because their voices are not listened to, and because they are discriminated against and excluded in their communities and by healthcare systems that fail to prioritize their needs.”
---Mary Robinson and Alicia Yamin, International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights Advisory Council Members, “Let’s Stop Women’s Suffering,” Boston Globe, June 4, 2009

“There are more than 200,000 workplaces in New York State where fundamental labor standards do not apply, not even in theory… They are private homes, where housekeepers, nannies and caregivers for the elderly do work as important as it is isolated and unprotected. The exclusion is a relic of the New Deal, when labor protections like overtime pay were written specifically to exclude domestic and farm labor. From exclusion it can be a short distance to abuse: to long hours, low pay, dehumanizing treatment, physical and sexual harassment. Domestic workers and their advocates in New York have been pressing for reforms… Most other workers take these standards for granted. They don’t know what it’s like to have to show up for work sick rather than be fired, to be denied privacy and dignity, to be powerless to demand decent treatment from their employers.”
---“The Rights of Domestic Workers,” New York Times editorial, June 15, 2009

“The destructive effects of trafficking have an impact on all of us. Trafficking weakens legitimate economies, breaks up families, fuels violence, threatens public health and safety, and shreds the social fabric that is necessary for progress. It undermines our long-term efforts to promote peace and prosperity worldwide. And it is an affront to our values and our commitment to human rights… Human trafficking flourishes in the shadows and demands attention, commitment and passion from all of us… Together, we must hold a light to every corner of the globe and help build a world in which no one is enslaved.”
---Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Partnering Against Trafficking,” Washington Post, June 17, 2009