Mar 08

For International Women's Day: Shriver on Gender Equality

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 03/08/2022 11:40AM


Our Quote of the Week acknowledges key ways in which lack of representation in the workplace results in economic inequality and injustice. As we embrace the theme of International Women’s Day 2022, #BreakTheBias, we recognize that expanding the representation of women in all of our public spaces will create a positive feedback loop that will ultimately benefit all of us.

During the early days of his 1976 Presidential campaign,  Sargent Shriver addressed the Women's Leadership Conference in Los Angeles, where he spoke these words. He listed a set of "women's issues" he would focus on as President, including lack of equal representation in the workforce, lack of pay equity, and lack of equal justice under the law. 

It is notable that in the speech, Sargent Shriver says: "There really is no such thing as a 'women's issue' that isn't also a 'men's issue.' [...] Real equality would be as liberating for men as for women -- and don't I know that. Men are imprisoned by the very stereotypes that oppress women. The economic rat race and the macho model are the other side of the male dominance coin. What's involved in this struggle is no less than the most profound of all questions -- what does it mean to be a human being?" In these words, we perceive Sargent Shriver's challenge to a status quo that limits all of us as human beings. 

Fueling Sargent Shriver, as always, is his sense of justice. An attorney by profession, Shriver highlights the negative consequences of not having women equally represented in the justice system, "from the neighborhood law office to the Supreme Court of the United States", pointing out some key ways in which inadequate representation "tilts the law toward men”.

We invite you to read Sargent Shriver's Address to the Women Leadership Conference, which stands as an important reminder that in the fight for equality, we must work together, women and men, to achieve our goals.

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