Women Rising Radio Program VII Women in Politics

BARBARA LEE: California Congresswoman Barbara Lee was first elected to represent the district including Berkeley, Oakland andAlameda in 1998. Since that time she has been a strongly outspoken advocate for economic and social justice, for international peace and for human rights. Barbara began her life in politics as a student and single mother at Mills College, where she went to work for the Presidential campaign of Shirley Chisolm. Chisolm garnered 10% of the vote in the districts where Barbara’s campaign was strong.Barbara went on to work with Congressman Ron Dellums formany years, and was drafted to replace him in Washington D.C. She was the one and only vote against giving the Bush regime blanket authorization to make war after 9-11. She has worked tirelessly for peace, helping to create the proposal for a US Department of Peace. She has served as the highest ranking Democratic woman in the House International Relations Committee, been chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

WU QING: Daughter of one of China’s most famous and beloved modern poets, Wu Qing still credits her famous mother with instilling in her the concepts of dignity, integrity, and honesty that have shaped her own public life. Her mother told her she was a human being first, and a woman second. Wu Qing has spearheaded a flowering of women’s rights activism in China. She has been a People’s Deputy in the Beijing People’s Congress in China since 1984, bringing to her duties the outspoken honesty and courage that her mother taught her. A pioneer in government work, she was one of the first people to cast a “no” vote in the Congress, where most simply went along with policy handed down from Communist party rulers. She established a telephone hotline for women, was instrumental in prodicing a practical skills training center for rural women, and co-founded the Rural Women’s Knowing All Magazine. She works to get more women to run for office and take part directly in the politics ofChina.

MALALAI JOYA: Malalai Joya has been called the “bravest woman in Afghanistan”, and for good reason. Elected as a member of the Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan’s parliament, she publicly denounced the presence of Afghan warlords and war criminals in the parliament – calling for an end to the rule of the powerful Northern Alliance in her country. Very popular in her home region of Farah province, she was sent back to parliament numerous times, but suspended fromparliament for speaking out on controversial issues. Worldwide, members of parliament from Canada, Germany, the UK, Italy, Spainand other nations protested her suspension from the Afghan parliament. Malalai was born into conflict in Afghanistan, growing up with the Soviet invasion and all the other attacks on her country. She became a pro-democracy activist early in her life. She has travelled worldwide, and written books, to raise the voices of her people, and of Afghan women in particular.