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  • As a matter of fact,

  • I was trying to think about my career since I left the White House,

  • and the best example I have is a cartoon in The New Yorker a couple of years ago.

  • This little boy is looking up at his father,

  • and he says, "Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be a former president."

  • (Laughter)

  • Well, I have had a great blessing as a former president,

  • because I have had an access

  • that very few other people in the world have ever had

  • to get to know so many people around this whole universe.

  • Not only am I familiar with the 50 states in the United States,

  • but also my wife and I have visited more than 145 countries in the world,

  • and the Carter Center has had full-time programs in 80 nations on Earth.

  • And a lot of times, when we go into a country,

  • we not only the meet the king or the president,

  • but we also meet the villagers who live in the most remote areas of Africa.

  • So our overall commitment at the Carter Center

  • is to promote human rights,

  • and knowing the world as I do, I can tell you without any equivocation

  • that the number one abuse of human rights on Earth

  • is, strangely, not addressed quite often, is the abuse of women and girls.

  • (Applause)

  • There are a couple of reasons for this that I'll mention to begin with.

  • First of all is the misinterpretation of religious scriptures, holy scriptures,

  • in the Bible, Old Testament, New Testament, Quran and so forth,

  • and these have been misinterpreted by men who are now in the ascendant positions

  • in the synagogues and the churches and in the mosques.

  • And they interpret these rules to make sure that women

  • are ordinarily relegated to a secondary position

  • compared to men in the eyes of God.

  • This is a very serious problem. It's ordinarily not addressed.

  • A number of years ago, in the year 2000,

  • I had been a Baptist, a Southern Baptist for 70 years --

  • I tell you, I still teach Sunday school every Sunday;

  • I'll be teaching this Sunday as well --

  • but the Southern Baptist Convention in the year 2000 decided

  • that women should play a secondary position,

  • a subservient position to men.

  • So they issued an edict, in effect,

  • that prevents women from being priests, pastors, deacons in the church,

  • or chaplains in the military,

  • and if a woman teaches a classroom

  • in a Southern Baptist seminary,

  • they cannot teach if a boy is in the room,

  • because you can find verses in the Bible,

  • there's over 30,000 verses in the Bible,

  • that say that a woman shouldn't teach a man, and so forth.

  • But the basic thing is the scriptures are misinterpreted

  • to keep men in an ascendant position.

  • That is an all-pervasive problem,

  • because men can exert that power

  • and if an abusive husband or an employer, for instance, wants to cheat women,

  • they can say that if women are not equal in the eyes of God,

  • why should I treat them as equals myself?

  • Why should I pay them equal pay for doing the same kind of work?

  • The other very serious blight

  • that causes this problem is the excessive resort to violence,

  • and that is increasing tremendously around the world.

  • In the United States of America, for instance, we have had

  • an enormous increase in abuse of poor people,

  • mostly black people and minorities, by putting them in prison.

  • When I was in office as governor of Georgia,

  • one out of every 1,000 Americans were in prison.

  • Nowadays, 7.3 people per 1,000 are in prison.

  • That's a sevenfold increase.

  • And since I left the White House,

  • there's been an 800 percent increase in the number of women

  • who are black who are in prison.

  • We also have [one of the only countries] on Earth

  • that still has the death penalty that is a developed country.

  • And we rank right alongside the countries that are most abusive

  • in all elements of human rights in encouraging the death penalty.

  • We're in California now, and I figured out the other day

  • that California has spent four billion dollars

  • in convicting 13 people for the death penalty.

  • If you add that up, that's 307 million dollars it costs California

  • to send a person to be executed.

  • Nebraska this week just passed a law abolishing the death penalty,

  • because it costs so much. (Applause)

  • So the resort to violence and abuse of poor people and helpless people

  • is another cause of the increase in abuse of women.

  • Let me just go down a very few abuses of women that concern me most,

  • and I'll be fairly brief, because I have a limited amount of time, as you know.

  • One is genital mutilation.

  • Genital mutilation is horrible and not known by American women,

  • but in some countries, many countries,

  • when a child is born that's a girl, very soon in her life,

  • her genitals are completely cut away by a so-called cutter

  • who has a razor blade and, in a non-sterilized way,

  • they remove the exterior parts of a woman's genitalia.

  • And sometimes, in more extreme cases but not very rare cases,

  • they sew the orifice up so the girl can just urinate or menstruate.

  • And then later, when she gets married, the same cutter goes in

  • and opens the orifice up so she can have sex.

  • This is not a rare thing, although it's against the law in most countries.

  • In Egypt, for instance,

  • 91 percent of all the females that live in Egypt today

  • have been sexually mutilated in that way.

  • In some countries, it's more than 98 percent

  • of the women are cut that way before they reach maturity.

  • This is a horrible affliction

  • on all women that live in those countries.

  • Another very serious thing is honor killings,

  • where a family with misinterpretation, again, of a holy scripture --

  • there's nothing in the Quran that mandates this --

  • will execute a girl in their family

  • if she is raped

  • or if she marries a man that her father does not approve,

  • or sometimes even if she wears inappropriate clothing.

  • And this is done by members of her own family,

  • so the family becomes murderers

  • when the girl brings so-called disgrace to the family.

  • An analysis was done in Egypt not so long ago by the United Nations

  • and it showed that 75 percent of these murders of a girl

  • are perpetrated by the father, the uncle or the brother,

  • but 25 percent of the murders are conducted by women.

  • Another problem that we have in the world

  • that relates to women particularly is slavery,

  • or human trafficking it's called nowadays.

  • There were about 12.5 million people sold from Africa into slavery

  • in the New World back in the 19th century and the 18th century.

  • There are 30 million people now living in slavery.

  • The United States Department of State now has a mandate from Congress

  • to give a report every year,

  • and the State Department reports that 800,000 people are sold

  • across international borders every year into slavery,

  • and that 80 percent of those sold are women,

  • into sexual slavery.

  • In the United States right this moment,

  • 60,000 people are living in human bondage, or slavery.

  • Atlanta, Georgia, where the Carter Center is located

  • and where I teach at Emory University,

  • they have between 200 and 300 women, people sold into slavery every month.

  • It's the number one place in the nation because of that.

  • Atlanta has the busiest airport in the world,

  • and they also have a lot of passengers that come from the Southern Hemisphere.

  • If a brothel owner

  • wants to buy a girl that has brown or black skin,

  • they can do it for 1,000 dollars.

  • A white-skinned girl brings several times more than that,

  • and the average brothel owner in Atlanta and in the United States now

  • can earn about $35,000 per slave.

  • The sex trade in Atlanta, Georgia, exceeds the total drug trade in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • So this is another very serious problem, and the basic problem is prostitution,

  • because there's not a whorehouse in America

  • that's not known by the local officials,

  • the local policemen, or the chief of police or the mayor and so forth.

  • And this leads to one of the worst problems,

  • and that is that women are bought increasingly and put into sexual slavery

  • in all countries in the world.

  • Sweden has got a good approach to it.

  • About 15 to 20 years ago, Sweden decided to change the law,

  • and women are no longer prosecuted

  • if they are in sexual slavery,

  • but the brothel owners and the pimps and the male customers are prosecuted,

  • and -- (Applause) -- prostitution has gone down.

  • In the United States, we take just the opposite position.

  • For every male arrested for illegal sex trade,

  • 25 women are arrested in the United States of America.

  • Canada, Ireland, I've already said Sweden,

  • France, and other countries are moving now towards this so-called Swedish model.

  • That's another thing that can be done.

  • We have two great institutions in this country that all of us admire:

  • our military and our great university system.

  • In the military, they are now analyzing how many sexual assaults take place.

  • The last report I got, there were 26,000 sexual assaults

  • that took place in the military --

  • 26,000.

  • Only 3,000, not much more than 1 percent, are actually prosecuted,

  • and the reason is that the commanding officer of any organization --

  • a ship like my submarine, or a battalion in the Army

  • or a company in the Marines --

  • the commanding officer has the right under law to decide

  • whether to prosecute a rapist or not,

  • and of course, the last thing they want is for anybody to know

  • that under their command, sexual assaults are taking place,

  • so they do not do it.

  • That law needs to be changed.

  • About one out of four girls who enter American universities

  • will be sexually assaulted before she graduates,

  • and this is now getting a lot of publicity,

  • partially because of my book, but other things,

  • and so 89 universities in America are now condemned

  • by the Department of Education under Title IX

  • because the officials of the universities are not taking care of the women

  • to protect them from sexual assault.

  • The Department of Justice says that more than half of the rapes

  • on a college campus take place by serial rapists,

  • because outside of the university system,

  • if they rape somebody, they'll be prosecuted,

  • but when they get on a university campus, they can rape with impunity.

  • They're not prosecuted.

  • Those are the kinds of things that go on in our society.

  • Another thing that's very serious about the abuse of women and girls

  • is the lack of equal pay for equal work,

  • as you know. (Applause)

  • And this is sometimes misinterpreted, but for full-time employment,

  • a woman in the United States now gets 23 percent less than a man.

  • When I became president, the difference was 39 percent.

  • So we've made some progress, partially because I was president

  • and so forth -- (Applause) (Laughter) --

  • but in the last 15 years, there's been no progress made,

  • so it's been just about 23 or 24 percent difference

  • for the last 15 years.

  • These are the kind of things that go on.

  • If you take the Fortune 500 companies,

  • 23 of them have women CEOs,

  • out of 500,

  • and those CEOs, I need not tell you,

  • make less on an average

  • than the other CEOs.

  • Well, that's what goes on in our country.

  • Another problem with the United States

  • is we are the most warlike nation on Earth.

  • We have been to war with about 25 different countries

  • since the Second World War.

  • Sometimes, we've had soldiers on the ground fighting.

  • The other times, we've been flying overhead

  • dropping bombs on people.

  • Other times, of course, now, we have drones that attack people and so forth.

  • We've been at war with 25 different countries

  • or more since the Second World War.

  • There was four years, I won't say which ones,

  • where we didn't --

  • (Applause) -- we didn't drop a bomb, we didn't launch a missile,

  • we didn't fire a bullet.

  • But anyway, those kinds of things, the resort to violence

  • and the misinterpretation of the holy scriptures

  • are what causes, are the basic causes, of abuse of women and girls.

  • There's one more basic cause that I need not mention,

  • and that is that in general, men don't give a damn.

  • (Applause) That's true.

  • The average man that might say, I'm against the abuse of women and girls

  • quietly accepts the privileged position that we occupy,

  • and this is very similar to what I knew when I was a child,

  • when separate but equal had existed.

  • Racial discrimination, legally, had existed for 100 years,

  • from 1865 at the end of the War Between the States, the Civil War,

  • all the way up to the 1960s,

  • when Lyndon Johnson got the bills passed

  • for equal rights.

  • But during that time, there were many white people

  • that didn't think that racial discrimination was okay,

  • but they stayed quiet,

  • because they enjoyed the privileges of better jobs,

  • unique access to jury duty,

  • better schools, and everything else,

  • and that's the same thing that exists today,

  • because the average man really doesn't care.