“A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
–Martin Luther King Jr.
In stating that what is happening “over there” should be an issue of concern for the U.S. feminists means that if there are injustices committed to women who work at Sony in Japan, LG Electronics in Korea, the Philips company in Amsterdam, etc. or females anywhere who are undergoing injustices because of their gender, we as U.S. feminists (I would say we as women or we as people) should be concerned of the injustices occurring to women anywhere in the world because it is happening to us.
Feminists are generally stated to be those who believe in the social, political and economic quality of the sexes which tend to favor men at the expense of women. In general, the term feminisn concerns the liberation of women (Womens, 2002), so what Martha Ojeda is stating in a sense is that when injustices are committed to women in Mexico City, for example, it does not and should not just affect the lives of the women in Mexico City but it should be a important concern to women and/or feminists everywhere.
Although feminists may disagree on the sources of inequality, how one attains equality and how gender-based identities should be critiqued, the fact that there are substantial inequalities and injustice committed daily to females solely because they are female and this is pretty much a uniting belief among all feminists. Ojeda states that stereotypes “it is not a war between men and women” (Lal, 2006) all of us, fathers, husbands, brothers and sons should be concerned.
In the interview conducted by Jayati Lal with Martha Ojeda, Martha addresses numerous injustices in which she was involved in and how females are being mistreated in companies, organizations and situations throughout different parts of the world.
“The worldwide fight for labor rights, for workplace and consumer safety and environmental protections is central to the kind of society we will live in, the kind of people we are” (Lal, 2006). Perhaps in the case of this essay, whether we support women “over there” then determines the kind of women we are and the type of women we become by our actions.
On a more personal level, the other side within the framework of the women empowering women issue would be that not only what happens “over there” does affect women everywhere but in how we help one woman, helps women everywhere. For example, in the Martha Ojeda interview, Martha discusses how workers helped her financially and with encouragement make it through law school (Lal, 2006). Women collectively helping Ojeda obtain her law degree has since helped many women in what she can now do with the education she attained. This to me is an even greater use of thinking of how U.S. feminists or women in general can help other women become empowered. The more we as women help one another attain professional training and/or education, the greater women everywhere become empowered. Again, as noted in the question for this essay, whether we help women here or “over there” we need to understand we are helping all women.
Why should U.S. feminists be concerned with things happening “over there” to other women? We as U.S. feminists or we as women in general should be affected when members of the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras march because the daughters of individuals immigrating from Torreon Coahuila, Mexico are found to be dead or missing.
As the one saying goes in effect, I did not stand up when they came for the Jewish people, because I wasn’t Jewish…and eventually no one is left to stand up for you.
So as with most issues, presenting a united front and in this case, a united global front in support of women’s rights and equalities is needed “over there,” over here and everywhere else in the world when fighting injustices against a people, in this case injustices towards a particular gender. As stated in the “Transcript of Martha Ojeda,” “Martha is…millions of workers in the maquilas and millions in the world. And just together we can change this system and make a better world for us (Lal, 2006).
Lal, Jayati. “Transcript of Martha Ojeda.” 2006 163-189. 11Apr2007
“Women’s Rights.” Funk ; Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. 2002. World Almanac
Education Group, Inc.. 11 Apr 2007 ;http://search.ebscohost.com/login;.