Dessima Williams Interview

Ambassador Williams was an Honorary Chair of the Massachusetts Conference on Women: Bringing Beijing Home, held September 1996 in Boston. She met with the Center’s staff several weeks before that conference to share her views on social change, women’s leadership, and grassroots movements. This excerpt from the interview considers women as problem-solvers.

What leadership roles do you foresee women taking in these social change efforts in this decade and into the next century?

Women must take leadership through analyzing the present historical moment and determining priorities and through presenting ourselves as problem-solvers and change-makers. We must become much more visible and audible in debates: We need to have feminists speaking on "Meet the Press" or "Nightline" about the trade deficit, the debt crisis, poverty, and forestalling the construction and use of missiles. We can expect women to become increasingly prominent in the human rights arena-where a growing solidarity among women, especially between North and South, is especially noticeable. More women will emerge in positions of power in government and in non-governmental organizations. And women must insist on their rights of personhood. That is an important way of providing leadership by example to young girls and others oppressed in the family and in the home, which are the first places the female sex learns to be free or not free.

Read the complete interview.

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